Council condemned as 'selfish' over Northallerton High Street parking charges plan (From The Advertiser Series)
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Council condemned as 'selfish' over Northallerton High Street parking charges plan
6:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in News
A COALITION of firms which employs 429 people on Northallerton high street has branded a plan to cut free parking to 30 minutes as “selfish”.
The Northallerton Retail and Business Forum members warned North Yorkshire County Council’s scheme to introduce car parking charges on the 250 spaces in the town’s High Street would set a precedent for surrounding towns.
The Northern Echo revealed in October that fees of 80p an hour after an initial free 30-minute period could be introduced in Northallerton High Street by May next year, with reviews of some other town centres in North Yorkshire, including Richmond, expected to follow.
The council said studies had revealed numbers of vehicles parking for longer than the two-hour limit had fallen by 48 per cent since the introduction of civil parking enforcement in May and that 58 per cent of people believed parking in town centres was a problem.
It has launched a public consultation exercise over introducing higher charges than in off-street car parks to ease parking issues and increase the number of shoppers, stating the funds accrued would be invested in highways schemes in local areas.
In a letter published today (Friday, December 12) in The Northern Echo’s sister paper, The Darlington and Stockton Times, Barkers department store, Bettys tea rooms, Grovers toy shop, grocers Lewis & Cooper, Maxwells electricals and farm and garden suppliers Sam Turners said the authority had produced insufficient evidence to support the scheme.
The traders said the real cause of traffic issues in the town were the level crossings.
They said: “At a time when many councils are looking to reduce and even abolish parking charges the council is pushing for more.
“The council can only instigate charges if there is a justifiable ‘traffic management’ need, but they come up woefully short on evidence and added value.
“The council’s decision to announce and consult on a new chargeable scheme right over the Christmas period is astonishing and underlines how this selfish proposal is simply a ruse to fill NYCC coffers at the expense of its businesses, residents and visitors.”
A county council spokesman said the consultation was being held over a longer period than was required by statute to give everyone a chance to air their views and that responses received from traders.
He said: “The scheme is designed to improve the retail environment in Northallerton by improving the turnover of vehicles in the High Street.
“We refute the suggestion that this is driven by the principle of raising revenue.”
The council is due to decide on whether to introduce the plan at a meeting on February 10.
For details, visit northyorks.gov.uk/northallertonparking
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