They are still looking to implement evening parking charges and daytime parking on Sunday and the proposed changes are minimal. North Yorkshire County Council have paid little attention to the sentiment of the town that the changes are are damaging to the town. The revision sees a minor amendments to the timing of charges on Sunday – but the plans are still forging forward.
- Under the amended plan Sunday charges would apply between 10am and 5pm instead of 8am-6pm as originally proposed. The charges would be the same as the Monday to Saturday daytime tariff
- The proposed introduction of a £2 flat fee charge for evening parking on all days would still be applied
There is an apparent lack of clarity in the reason for the changes and we are yet to talk to any Harrogate business that supports the change.
County Councillor David Simister said:
Who are they trying to kid with this 11th hour amendment?
Public opinion is well and truly against them and they know they are on hiding to nothing!
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways:
I would like to emphasise that a decision is yet to be made on these proposals and the Harrogate area committee meeting represents the final stage in the consultation process.
The proposals which will go in front of the Committee attempt to balance people’s consultation responses with best practice in traffic management.
We have taken on concerns about Sunday charging and the revised charging period for Sunday now more closely matches Sunday trading hours. This means that people will have more time to move their vehicle if they park on-street on Saturday evening.
The county council believes that evening and Sunday charges for on-street parking will ensure a turnover of spaces for short-stay shoppers on Sundays and night-time visitors to Harrogate by encouraging drivers who want to stay for longer to park in the town’s off-street car parks.
Cllr Mackenzie said:
We have considered all the responses very closely, but we also have to take into account the traffic management needs of the town and its expanding economy. We must ensure that there are sufficient premium on-street spaces for Sunday shoppers and night-time visitors.
I wish to stress that the proposals are all about better management of our town centre roads and on-street parking spaces, not about raising revenues. In the evenings and especially on Sundays, there is significant pressure on on-street parking whilst there are many empty parking spaces in off-street car parks.
There are benefits for all of us, including town centre businesses, in encouraging the use of car parks and increasing the turnover of premium parking spaces on the roads.
There is no substantiated evidence to show that reasonable parking charges deter visitors to town centres.
The final decision will be taken by the North Yorkshire County Council Cabinet, following feedback from the Harrogate area committee.
Mike Pywell is leading a campaign against the introduction of charges.
Mike Pywell said:
I welcome confirmation that a decision won’t be made until after the Area Meeting on 19th November. I’m also pleased that Councillor Mackenzie has again stressed this is about increasing turnover of spaces and not raising revenue.
If it isn’t about the money, there is a very simple solution. Disc parking in the evening and on Sundays would be far more effective. With a few extra signs we’d have a system that would help businesses and not penalise residents or visitors, while warden’s fees would be covered by fines.
A flat fee of £2 after 6pm does not address the objective, once paid it doesn’t encourage anyone to move. Just like the proposed Sunday charges, it’s an unnecessary tax that will damage businesses and further justify the benefits of shopping out of town or online. And to those unfortunate enough to come into town regularly after 6pm to play bridge, attend choir practice or visit the gym how is it fair to charge them an extra £300 a year? It isn’t, it’s just another example of how poorly thought through this proposal is.
The truth is we are blessed to live in a wonderful town, and our aim should be to help it grow not tax it until it bleeds. I would love to see Councillor Mackenzie’s research papers that support his argument that parking fees do not damage business. I’ve scoured the net but not found any, and I would have thought that anything as profound as that would have been widely available.
If wish to vote on the poll at change.org then see www.hgsaysno.com