North Yorkshire County Council is reviewing on-street parking charges in towns across the county to encourage visitors to use off-street car parks and reduce congestion.
On Friday, 30 September, the County Council’s Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services will consider, in consultation with the Executive Members for Business and Environmental Services, a proposal to increase on-street charges in Harrogate where the county and borough councils have worked closely together recently to review the town’s parking policy.
Currently in Harrogate the on-street inner zone is the same price as the Jubilee long stay and only 10p more expensive than the Victoria long stay. The on-street outer zone is cheaper than both long stay car parks.
Moreover, the on-street tariffs in Harrogate town have not changed since September 2011. To achieve the right differential the county council believes that on-street parking charges should be markedly higher than off-street charges.
If the proposals go ahead, Monday to Sunday on-street parking tariffs in Harrogate will be increased as follows:
- Short stay – increase tariff by 10p per 20 minutes
- Inner zone – increase tariff by 10p per 30 minutes
- Outer zone – increase tariff by 10p per 30 minutes
In real terms, this would mean:
- Short stay inner would rise from £1 for 40mins to £1.20 for 40mins
- Inner zone would increase from £1.40 per hour to £1.60
- Outer zone would increase from £1.20 per hour to £1.40
The increase is at the same rate as the increase in 2011.
If approved, officers have suggested that the implementation of Sunday charges in Harrogate – agreed by the Executive in August – should be delayed and implemented at the same time as the tariff increase in early November.
The review work carried out to date has shown that the differential between the cost of on and off-street parking in some other parts of the county needs to be looked at in more detail and the county council will subsequently work with Harrogate Borough Council to review on-street parking tariffs in Knaresborough and the impact on traffic management; it will also work with Scarborough Borough Council to review on-street parking charges in Scarborough town, Whitby and Filey and will go on to review on-street arrangements in Northallerton.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways:
Our main aim is to reduce traffic congestion in our very busy town centres and in Harrogate we have been working closely with the Borough Council to review the impact of parking charges on congestion. It is a widely-established traffic management principle that on-street parking charges should be higher than off-street charges, because it helps to reduce the number of vehicles using the congested network to find a space as close as possible to their intended destination.
The proposals follow Department for Transport guidance, which states that charges should encourage all but short-term parking to take place in nearby off-street car parks and consequently “charges for prime parking spaces in a busy town centre would normally be higher”.
Cllr Mackenzie said:
We have not raised on-street tariffs since 2011 and therefore we feel that a rise in tariffs at this stage is not unreasonable.
There is no evidence to show that reasonable parking charges have a negative impact on town centre economies. Indeed, our prime purpose is to reduce congestion and make our town centres even more attractive to visitors. There are plenty of empty spaces in Harrogate’s off-street car parks currently and a policy that encourages people to use these off-street spaces, which reduces on-street congestion, must be a positive step forward for the business, cultural and recreational life of the town.
We have made it much easier to pay for parking, having introduced new ticket machines a few weeks ago. Unlike the old ones, these take cards as well as cash, which means that visitors to the town centre pay for exactly the time they need, rather than have to rely upon the change in their pocket.
County Councillor David Simister (UKIP, Bilton & Nidd Gorge) has condemned proposals to raise on-street parking charges in Harrogate:
The move, to be put before the authority’s executive this coming Friday, comes just a few weeks after it voted unanimously to introduce Sunday parking charges, despite huge scale opposition.
County Councillor Simister, who runs a town centre business, said:
This is just unbelievable. As local members we have not been informed about these proposed increases.
In fact our area meeting at the beginning of the month was cancelled due to there being nothing on the agenda!
This is another attack on motorists wanting to access the town centre and I know it will be greeted with disgust by traders and shoppers alike.
This is again a revenue generation scheme and demonstrates that democracy in North Yorkshire is dead.