North Yorkshire County Council has announced it is postponing a decision on the introduction of on-street parking charges on Sundays and evenings in Harrogate town centre.
The authority says it has listened to local opinion, and particularly local businesses, and has decided not to go ahead immediately with the introduction of parking charges until all parking tariffs in the town have been reviewed, both on and off-street.
Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways, said: “Postponing any decision about on-street charges until all parking charges in the town have been considered and the right balance between on and off street charges has been achieved is the right thing to do at this time.
"Effective management of parking and parking charges in the centre of Harrogate is essential to the town’s economy which remains one of the strongest and most diverse in the county.”
Given that charges and timings for off-street evening parking are not uniform in Harrogate and given the importance of achieving the right balance between on and off street provision, it has now been agreed that any decision should be postponed until a full review can be carried out.
Coun Mackenzie said: "I have always stated that these new charges were being proposed to encourage regular turnover of premium parking spaces for shoppers and other visitors to our town centre who wish to visit our shops, restaurants, pubs and the many other facilities the town has to offer.
"Good parking policy states that drivers wanting to park for long periods should be encouraged to use off-street car parks and that charges should be lower there than in the premium parking spaces on streets in town centres, which should be kept available for short term parking.
"The current situation on Sundays and in the evenings encourages the opposite: the streets are free and the car parks charge, and that is why, on Sundays especially, the streets are fully parked up with very little movement, whilst the car parks have plenty of space.
"Nevertheless, I welcome the decision to delay changes. We will now have further meaningful meetings with different stakeholders to agree how we can properly manage all parking in the town centre to ensure that the economy of Harrogate remains one of the strongest and most diverse in the country."
Plans to introduce state of the art parking ticket machines which take both cash and electronic means of payment will still go ahead over the next few weeks.