The free hour car parking offered to motorists in short-stay car parks in the Isle of Wight's county town will stop at the end of the month.

It comes as funding has run out for the free hour parking pilot which saw shoppers in Newport allowed to park in Lugley Street, Sea Street and Chapel Street car parks for an hour free.

The pilot was first introduced in May 2022 in an attempt to bring customers back to the local businesses in the Island's county town after the impact of the Covid pandemic.

It was supported by funding from Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council and the Isle of Wight Council.

In the last 18 months, the community council has paid the Isle of Wight Council £76,500 to make up for the loss of income it would have received for that hour's parking fee.

It had set aside £80,000 (£40,000 for each year the scheme ran), but as it is ending shortly the remaining money has gone back into the community council's budget.

In the first six months of the trial, more than 62,000 free hour tickets were issued and had been marked as a success by the community council as visitor numbers had increased in the town.

Councillors had said it was difficult to put into figures how much local businesses had benefitted from the hour of free parking.

However, the community council had always agreed to fund the scheme if it was matched by the Isle of Wight Council but the bigger authority "did not have the money to pay for it" any longer, so the scheme will come to an end on February 26.

Despite the contributions from the community council, the Isle of Wight Council had lost £26,000.

Speaking yesterday (Thursday), Cllr Phil Jordan, the Isle of Wight Council's leader and cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said it had always been a pilot which has now run out.

He said he has asked for a report to be produced on the outcomes of the pilot and what it has achieved, before the council makes any further decisions about what it could potentially do with parking in the future.

Cllr Jordan pointed to the Alliance Administration's promise to freeze parking charges for the year ahead after "13 consecutive years of increases".

The council's short-stay car parks cost £4.10 for between one and two hours.