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From Monday 18 May 2015, commuters parking their vehicles at the Pannal railway station car park which is adjacent to Platform 2 (the Harrogate bound platform) will face a £2 per day charge. Harrogate Borough Council fear the move will create further congestion on the roads and raise road safety concerns due to inconsiderate parking in the village.
Harrogate Borough Council officers have met with Northern Rail representatives to present their concerns and to ask them to reconsider their plans, which could also have a negative impact on the wider area. It is feared that introducing a daily car parking charge may encourage commuters to park at other railway stations where car parking is currently free, such as Weeton and Hornbeam Park. By doing so, additional pressure would be placed on these car parks and the surrounding streets.
Councillor Rebecca Burnett, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport said: I am most concerned by Northern Rail’s decision to introduce car parking charges at Pannal railway station. The move will undoubtedly push rail users to use their cars instead of the train at a time when we are encouraging commuters to use more environmentally friendly transport.
As well as potentially increasing congestion, it may also encourage rail users to park on residential streets in Pannal rather than paying to use the car park, which in itself could lead to problems. In addition, drivers may choose to park at one of the region’s railway stations that offer free parking, thereby increasing pressure on those car parks and further exacerbating the problem.
I would urge Northern Rail to reconsider their decision and to refrain from introducing a parking charge which could have a detrimental effect on the Pannal community and our road networks. We should be doing all we can to encourage people to travel by rail rather than discourage them.