A survey on building a double-decked car park to create an additional 150 spaces in Ripon has been agreed by the city council.
Councillors voted unanimously on Monday to support a proposal to use £10,000 from the City Plan budget to carry out the scoping and design survey of a decked car park at the rear of the Sainsbury’s supermarket between Moss Arcade and St Marygate.
If the scoping survey meets engineering needs and other criteria then Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) has agreed in principle to underwrite the capital cost of building the car park said the proposer of the motion, Coun Alan Skidmore.
He said: “There’s been a constant cry that we simply do not have enough parking spaces in Ripon and it’s been said time and time again.”
Coun Skidmore estimated the eventual cost of the building of the car park would be around £3m but said HBC would then collect the parking fees.
“A twin-decking of a car would not only ease the parking problem but also, if the publicity and tourism plans go ahead and are reasonably successful, we will have new street furniture and parking places for people to come and stay in the city,” he said.
“I don’t know what the eventual cost might be but it could be £3m and, if it were to come to that, then HBC would put their money where their mouth is.
“This might come to nothing but I think we need to try it. There needs to be a proper scoping plan to prove to Harrogate there is a need for the capital cost.”
The Ripon and District Chamber of Trade has welcomed the possibility of increased car parking spaces in the city to entice people to “visit longer and stay longer”.
Vice-chairman Stephen Craggs said: “If HBC are to be believed, we never reach maximum capacity and we only approach it on a Thursday, so it’s encouraging that the council are scoping for the future.
“The chamber would welcome this but it has to go hand-in-hand with a strategy of traffic management and traffic flow.
“One-time visitors to Ripon report that car parking is not necessarily easy to find and people are not exploring the city and are almost on a piece of elastic, not wanting to go too far from their car.”
A spokesman for HBC said they were aware of the ongoing negotiations concerning the car park but could not comment further at this time.