Letter: Harrogate Council - What about all the parking?

Harrogate International Centre
Harrogate International Centre

Regardless of the outcome of the consultation about altering the Parliamentary Act currently protecting our Stray, could I venture to suggest that our council have, effectively, shot themselves in the foot.

One of their proposals is that the Stray should be used to host up to three more large events per annum, and additional smaller events.

Leaving aside all our other objections, one of the questions The Stray Defence Association has been asking during the consultation period is ‘Where will all these additional visitors, wagons, pantechnicons and media personnel, park?’

We have now had car parks in the town taken over for most of last week for the use of delegates to an ASDA conference. The Victoria, Jubilee and Dragon Road car parks were used for this purpose.

What is particularly interesting is that the council’s own report on the matter states:

‘Not providing guaranteed parking would restrict HIC’s ability to host this event successfully, prejudicing future events. There would also be a potential detrimental impact on local traffic, as visitors try to find alternative parking arrangements on the days of the event.

‘6.2 Risk Assessment – A risk assessment has been undertaken with regard to these proposals. The only risk occurs on the main event day (February 7) since it is possible there may be insufficient parking capacity in the town centre for all delegates and normal daily parking requirements. Having insufficient parking capacity in the town centre is not unknown and already occurs on approximately 15 days per annum due to major events/Christmas shopping.

‘By agreeing guaranteed delegate parking, delegates will travel to their “allocated” car park thus reducing the impact of local delegate traffic trying to find spaces. North Yorkshire County Council have been notified of event and arrangements’

Thus, by HBC’s own admission, there is ‘insufficient parking capacity in the town centre’, for ‘major events’. Shooting in the foot successfully achieved!

Are we to assume, therefore, that all their proposed ‘large scale events’ on the Stray would necessitate the closure of our town’s larger car parks to Harrogate’s citizens?

Further, as we understand that only 2,000 ASDA delegates had to be catered for, where do we surmise that the significantly greater number of attendees to very large events, such as the UCI Road World Championships being hosted in Harrogate for eight days in 2019, will be directed to park their vehicles?

If 2,000 delegates require closure of car parks to Harrogate people, where are HBC planning to park the tens of thousands they anticipate will attend this event? Does anyone know of a large, central, open space in the town?

We also pointed out some weeks ago, in a letter to the Harrogate Advertiser, that, despite Coun Harrison’s statement that ‘there will be no buildings, no car parks’ HBC’s plans for the Tour de Yorkshire include ‘Car parking facilities on area two’. That is Oatlands Stray.

This is accompanied by a lengthy list of other requirements, including:

l An enclosed secure technical zone to park up to 100 trucks;

l Temporary surfaces/roads for support vehicles (support vehicles consisting of team cars, cars for officials and medical vehicles); and

l Additional temporary roads as a “peel off” to the side road to avoid a bottle neck

No mention of where visitors will park. Perhaps Harrogate’s hard pressed tax payers will have to forgo their parking rights again in April.

Or, once again, does anyone know of a large, central, open space in the town?

Judy d’Arcy Thompson

Chairman, The Stray Defence Association, Harrogate