Petition against parking charges handed over

Liz Guest, of Big Bites, outside Harrogate Borough Council's offices with the petition signed by 1,900 people. (1202222AM)

Liz Guest, of Big Bites, outside Harrogate Borough Council's offices with the petition signed by 1,900 people. (1202222AM)

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NEARLY 2,000 people have signed the petition protesting against the new parking charges on Ripon’s market square.

Petition organiser Liz Guest, who runs Big Bites on Market Place, delivered the sheets containing 1,900 signatures to Harrogate Borough Council’s offices on Wednesday, February 22.

She said: “I think the number of signatures was very good considering the population of Ripon and I hope it proves a point.”

The campaign was launched after free parking was abolished on the market square on January 11 when charges of 50p for 30 minutes and £1 for an hour’s parking were introduced.

The petition, launched on February 2 and supported by eight shops, calls for the abolition of the charges or at least a reduction so the first 30 minutes’ parking is free and an hour costs 60p – the same price 60 minutes’ parking costs in Ripon’s other council-run car parks.

Mrs Guest handed the petition to Coun Richard Cooper, the cabinet member for planning, transport and economic development, during a meeting where it was agreed she would speak to Ripon businesses to gather more information about how the charges are affecting city traders’ takings and footfall.

Speaking to the Gazette after the meeting, Coun Cooper said: “I’m happy to look again at the issue once I’m given some hard facts by the businesses about what their takings have been like this year compared with previous years.

“During the consultation period when the changes to the charges were being produced there were very few objections so in those circumstances the new charges went ahead.

“But even at this stage, if businesses want to prove to me that they have been adversely affected then I’m happy to look at the charges again.”