The Harrogate Advertiser’s Town Centre Survey asked what should be done to improve parking in the town centre.
There was a common theme to the majority of replies but it turned out not to be as might have been expected.
The top five answers included things which chimed with the ‘green’ tenor of our times: introducing a park and ride scheme, banning cars all together.
One reply said: “Park and ride is essential. Private cars should not been encouraged into the centre.”
Another argued: “Pedestrianise more areas and increase canopies so people can sit out in all weathers.
“Have fairs and street events in areas such as Princes Square, suspending on street parking during those times.”
But contrary opinions were just as popular, suggesting the appeal of pedestrianisation is balanced by the convenience factor of driving for many shoppers.
Some said the situation as it currently stands for parking in Harrogate town centre was fine.
But many of those who responded to our survey went further, calling for parking to be made cheaper.
One said: “Lower rates and parking charges for the town centre to encourage people back before it’s too late and people switch to online or go and shop elsewhere for good.”
A surprising number of completed surveys even said parking should be totally free.
“Cheaper parking/free at weekends.”
“A free parking scheme across all car parks.”
“Free parking at certain times of the day.”
“More free, short term parking.”
There were many variations on the same theme.
One member of the public wrote: “Limit (parking in) the town centre to just one hour but make it free.
“This will improve turnover and encourage people to pop into town.
“Shoppers can still use disc parking or pay to park further out or in large car parks if they want to stay longer.
“The council should also offer a discount scheme with local businesses to get staff using multi-storeys which are often empty.”