Survey shows parking charges are already deterring people from visiting the Harrogate Town Centre

26 October 2019

There are plans for a major review of parking in the Harrogate Town Centre by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

NYCC monetize on-street parking with the revenue being collected by Harrogate Borough Council. Harrogate Borough Council operate the multi-storey and off-street parking facilities.

What you need to know:

  • Tariffs are to be reviewed by NYCC as there hasn’t been a review for sometime and as mechanism to dissuade use of cars
  • It will include a review of the areas that are currently free to park, disc parking and off street parking, that means the area that is under parking control may expand
  • NYCC are saying the changes are to reduce congestion and are as a result of the congestion survey, so part of what the public have asked for
  • NYCC say that money raised will be used for park and ride, bus services and cycling routes

The problem:

  • Town centre parking is a complicated issues and this review is being undertaken as a Highways matter without regard for local business
  • Our survey shows that 79.1% of people use cars to travel to the town centre
  • 72% feel that the current parking charges are already too expensive
  • Overwhelmingly car parking charges influence how often people visit the town centre and how long they stay
  • There is a reluctance to use local bus services with ticket prices being the most significant factor
  • 27% say that they would never use a bus regardless
  • Electric buses and green or environmental issues is not a factor in encouraging people to use buses


David Bowe, Corporate Director, Business and Environmental Services, said:

Addressing congestion in Harrogate and Knaresborough is a complex issue with no one solution.

Following the conclusion of our exhaustive study of the issue, including the extensive public consultation, the County Council’s Executive has agreed to explore a number of possible measures.

These include looking at developments of walking and cycling routes, bus route provision and park and ride services, all of which are designed to make it easier for people to leave their cars and use other modes of transport, which is what the consultation told us people wanted to see.

Measures to be explored also include a review of car parking charges, both on- and off-street, in consultation with Harrogate Borough Council. This will consider expansion of car parking management zones to encourage the use of, and to support investment in, alternative modes of transport. No proposals relating to parking have yet been made.

However, a congestion charge has been ruled out at this stage.


A spokesperson for  Harrogate Borough Council said:

We work closely with NYCC regarding on and off-street parking management matters and continually review the respective charges.

The county council hasn’t formally spoken to us regarding the outcomes of its congestion study but we are aware of the intention to review parking charges as part of the overall study.

However, no proposals have been discussed, nor agreed, at this stage.


We underook an online survey with 462 responding. The responses are below.



Harrogate Informer Opinion by Tim Cook, Editor

Harrogate business has been hard-hit following the decision of Harrogate Borough Council to bring the UCI to Harrogate and this could well be a further issue for them to tackle.

There are a lot of factors that influence the success of a high street. Whilst it is acknowledged that high streets need to evolve to be more than retail, our survey shows that people want to use their cars, don’t want to pay to park and don’t want to use buses – rightly or wrongly.

On the question of congestion, it is not clear why not having a relief road means we need higher parking in the town centre. Personally I have not experienced congestion while travelling to the town centre, but I often have on the peripheral routes.

The support for using local busses is surprising and disappointing. Harrogate needs more competition on bus operators and for NYCC to support all operators equally. How a bus operator balances reducing fares if it leads to significant more use is difficult to understand.

The question of appropriate level of, or zero parking needs to be looked at in connection with economic development of the town. It looks like that neither Harrogate Borough Council or North Yorkshire County Council are looking out for the local business in considering this as an option.

There remains a significant chasm between councils and the public. For many the councils are considered to be part of the problem, rather than forming any part of a solution, but unfortunately the councils don’t perceive that there is a problem.

Never before has there been so much importance of groups like the Harrogate District Chamber, Harrogate BID and Independent Harrogate to represent the town.


  1. I wish I had known about the survey. 462 responses hardly represents all the people who use Harrogate and are forced to travel in by car. I live 2 miles from the nearest bus stop and, as a pensioner, cannot contemplate a 2 mile uphill slog with shopping from the nearest bus stop. Increased parking costs will be a major factor in deterring me from shopping in Harrogate.

  2. Buses in Harrogate are absolutely dreadful, and The Harrogate Bus Company is a racket whose employees rail against free parking yet charge extortionate amounts to get into the town centre on their crap bus service. What’s so good about telling people to be “green” when it’s more expensive to go on a bus than driving or even a taxi?

    As for the council, watch them inevitably start moaning about the “demise of the high street” or whatever when everyone decides to shop on Amazon instead of wasting money on parking, not that there’s much left in Harrogate town centre now anyway.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.



Go toTop