Harrogate Park and Ride scheme would mean 'tax increase' warns County Council

File photo
File photo

Harrogate residents must be braced for a tax increase if a Park and Ride scheme was introduced, according to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

During a meeting of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce on Monday, November 2, different methods to relieve traffic congestion in the town were discussed.

Harrogate resident Paul Dyson raised the possibility of a Park and Ride scheme for the town which, he argued, had been very successful since being introduced in York.

NYCC's Executive Member for Highways, Coun Don Mackenzie, revealed plans were discussed to introduce a scheme at the Great Yorkshire Showground were discussed in the past.

However, he explained that issues involving the cost to the tax payer and the potential location of the scheme prevented it from being introduced.

He said: “We were looking at one at the Great Yorkshire Showground fairly recently from Hookstone for people who wanted to come into the town centre.

“But people in Hookstone did not want it going through and to have one so close to the centre of town when you have spent time getting there to the park and ride scheme, people often think ‘well I will just drive on to the town centre’.

“They are also inherently expensive to the tax payer, Scarborough and Whitby maybe break even during summer and lose a huge amount in winter. York is the same.”

Coun Mackenzie explained there could be opportunities to introduce a scheme at Pannal and Flaxby but warned tax payers should be ‘braced’ for an increase if introduced.

He said: "There clearly opportunities and as far as two key locations are concerned in Pannal and also Flaxby as park and ride locations.

"They are both far enough from the town centre and close enough to remain to major roads to make them popular, and in both cases you could have park and ride but also park and rail."

Chief Executive of the Chamber, Brian Dunsby, agreed that it would not be 'economic' to run a high frequency bus to get people out their cars when it would be no faster than the traffic they were in.

He said: "For it to be successful you have to have a free park and maybe something that uses the 36 to just get people out of their cars. It's not economic otherwise it would be part of the solution."