WITH an estimated 15,000 more cars on the Isle of Wight in 2026 than in 2011, the council is looking at whether it has enough parking capacity to support the demand.

The council's now-approved parking development plan, ideas to generate steady income and keep up with the projected growth have been suggested.

Council-owned car parks have been reviewed for regeneration projects, disposal for developments or the potential of additional spaces.

Car parks in Newport and Ventnor are not considered suitable for additional parking needs but it has been suggested that variable message signs be installed in the towns to advise motorists which car parks have empty spaces.

Those at risk of being disposed of include the Mornington Road car park in Cowes and part of Fort Street in Sandown.

While the Fort Street car park is currently under-utilised and only creates a low income, the council expect it could increase with the potential increase of activity at Dinosaur Isle, so not all of the car park has been earmarked for development.

More spaces could be provided in Cross Street car park, Cowes, where a light-weight deck could be installed to provide multi-storey parking.

There have been warnings this could be costly.

Consultation with key stakeholders highlighted ways the car parks could improve, including pay as you exit parking, the possibility of the first hour(s) free and measures to encourage people back to the high street following the Covid pandemic.

As an increase to the revenue stream, the Isle of Wight Council proposed in last year's budget to increase parking charges, something cabinet member for strategic resources, Cllr Stuart Hutchinson, said did not seem to deter people from buying more cars.

Cllr Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, however, said it was the council's strategy to reduce car usage, instead of building any more car parks.

With more people working from home, which could potentially stick after the Covid pandemic is over, he felt the strategy may work.

Cllr Ward said the plan was a live document that could be adapted to any arising situation.