North Yorkshire use £3million parking surplus on major Harrogate schemes

Parking charges
Parking charges

North Yorkshire County Council will use part of last year’s £3million on-street parking charges surplus to fund sustainable transport initiatives to encourage walking and cycling.

The county council has announced plans to use £100k from surplus on-street parking charges revenue for schemes which encourage people to use other forms of transport and reduce town centre congestion.

Another £100k will also be committed to address air quality management in areas such as Bond End in Knaresborough with £500k used to develop major schemes.

Harrogate, Knaresborough, Scarborough, Filey, Whitby and Scarborough currently operate on-street parking charges to ‘improve traffic flow’ and ‘turnover of on-street spaces’.

Around £3m was generated in 2015/15 in surplus revenue with the county now considering extending these charges to evenings and Sundays in Harrogate.

However, Coun Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for Highways, has stressed the additional charges would be to encourage a turnover of on-street spaces, enabling more people to park and visit shops.

He said: “We use on-street parking charges to encourage people to use off-street car parks, reduce congestion in town centres and encourage people to use other forms of transport.

“We don’t do this to create revenue but any revenue we do make, far from going into our general coffers, is put back into highways improvements and bus and rail services.”

Coun Mackenzie listed the A59 Kex Gill realignment and a Harrogate relief road review as two of the major schemes to be developed using the £500k annual investment and attract Government funding.

However, campaigners have slammed the possibility of the county council introducing Sunday and evening charges, arguing there are alterative methods to encourage turnover of spaces.

Mike Pywell, who has launched a campaign against the charges, said: “Sunday parking charges will deter shoppers, visitors and penalise people going to church. They are also totally unnecessary.

“Free Disc Parking will provide parking controls and we can promote that to attract more visitors.”