Parking woes of Harrogate residents 'trapped in own driveway'

Parking problems - The hazardous upper part of Brunswick Drive in Harrogate. (Picture by Douglas Adamson)
Parking problems - The hazardous upper part of Brunswick Drive in Harrogate. (Picture by Douglas Adamson)

The plight of a small band of neighbours in the Duchy area of Harrogate has put the spotlight on one of town’s less reported parking problems.

Residents on the upper part of Brunswick Drive are complaining that the knock-on effects of parking restrictions on the lower half of Brunswick Drive are making their lives a minor misery.

Author Douglas Adamson, who lives at number 26, said: “It’s frustrating. Because people aren’t allowed to park down the street, they come up here.

“But our part of the street is narrower so they end up parking half on the pavement and half on the road.

“It makes it hazardous for anyone in a wheelchair or motorised scooter trying to get along the street.

“The tangle of parked cars also make it difficult for me to get out of my driveway and it’s not just me.

“It happened to one of our neighbours is a surgeon at Harrogate Hospital.”

The problem has been growing worse over the past year, Douglas Adamson, says.

And one of the main reasons, he claims, is the lack of inexpensive parking in the town centre.

He said: “It’s not the weekend that is the problem, it’s weekdays. I’ve spoken to people who come to park on our part of the street. They almost always work in offices in the town centre. I know traffic has gotten worse in town and I can understand why they would want to avoid paying parking fees in the town centre but it’s not fair on us.”

The situation seems to be one understood by the authorities but there has been little in the way of practical help so far from the relevant departments at North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council.

Douglas Adamson said: “The highways department at NYCC wrote to one of my neighbours saying it would cost £3, 000 to investigate changing parking rules on our street and there was no guarantee of success. That’s a real insult to taxpayers.

“The councillor in charge of highways, Don McKenzie , said he was very sympathetic but said if he did try to help us, it would only force parking onto other streets instead.”

Coun Don Mackenzie, executive member for Highways at North Yorkshire County Council, who represents the division which includes the Duchy estate and Brunswick Drive, said:

"I am aware of this issue since I am the county councillor for the division in question, an area which includes the Duchy estate. I have been in correspondence recently with Mr Adamson, with other residents of Brunswick Drive, and also of nearby streets like Rutland Road.

"The parking of vehicles for long periods in residential areas close to the town centre and currently without parking restrictions is a problem which is getting steadily worse. It affects other areas of town too including the West Cliffes off Cold Bath Road, the area around Trinity Church, the streets near to Tewit Well, and especially roads close to Harrogate Hospital and St Aidan's School.

"Of particular concern is inconsiderate or illegal parking. The former includes parking on footpaths or hard up against dropped kerbs and driveways.

The latter includes blocking driveways ( I have recently had to contact the police and Parking Services to take action against the driver of a vehicle who had blocked a driveway on Rutland Road).

"As your article makes clear, our options to deal with this problem are currently limited.

"The introduction of parking restrictions on one road will transfer the problem to the next one, and so on. NYCC will be reviewing its policy on Residential Parking Schemes later this year.

"At the moment, no new schemes are being introduced unless there is third party funding.

"The current cost of a residential parking permit (£15 or £16 per year, depending on location) is far short of paying for a scheme, which requires setting up (if a majority of residents are in favour) including costs of advertising, after which there are further costs of signage, enforcement and administration. Increasing the price of a permit would alleviate the cost to the taxpayer.

"In short, officers and elected members at NYCC are very aware of the problem and intend to address the matter in the near future."