Concerns over application to close half of a busy car park.

NADV 1302182AM1 West Park car park. (1302182AM1)
NADV 1302182AM1 West Park car park. (1302182AM1)

Business owners on Tower Street have expressed concern over plans to close half of West Park car park to the public for almost 12 months.

An application has been submitted to Harrogate Borough Council to set up a workers compound in the car park, reducing the number of usable spaces from 40 to 18.

David Lee who owns Harrogate Beds on Tower Street said: “It’s not going to to do any good for local businesses.”

“We don’t have a our own car park so rely on that one, this couldn’t happen at a worse time.”

Developers R.N Wooler & CO Limited have applied for permission for a compound for construction workers working on the West Park Hotel, 400 ft away.

If permission is granted five portable buildings will take up 22 spaces in the car park from late March 2013 until February 2014, more than halving the number of spaces availible for public use.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Borough Council who run the car park said: “We are prepared to enter into a lease for 22 spaces on the surface level car park on Tower Street but this would be subject to planning permission, it is currently out to consultation.

“Given the location of the hotel there are limitations for the contractors who will be carrying out the work. The developer will of course be paying for this lease there will be no out of hours working from the site.”

The spokesperson added: “Although 22 spaces will be temporarily removed, there is ample parking in the multi storey car park on Tower Street as well as pay and display on streets and disc parking in the area.”

David Priestly from Bradford parks at West Park car park regularly, he said: “There is a multi-storey over the road but we have quite a large car and don’t like to use multi-storeys.

“It’s always quite busy this car park, it’s the one we always use if we are coming to Harrogate.”

Keith Butterfield, managing director of Number One Travel on Tower Street also has concerns about the multi-storey car park. He said: “Some of my customers are elderly and there is no lift in the car park so it could be inconvient for them.”

Helen Nash, owner of Emblazon on Tower Street said she was concerned that customers may struggle to get parked. She said: “We have a few spaces out the front of the shop but at busy periods, for example during the summer holidays, they get full up quite quickly.”

Local resident, Della Rebours logged a complaint on the council’s planning website. She said: “Any disruption to the smooth running of this car park and the siting of a worker’s compound, so close to the residential properties on Oxford Terrace will greatly affect our quality of life for the duration of the build.”

Meanwhile a local business owner who didn’t wish to be named said he could see both sides: “One the one hand the improvement to the West Park area will be a positive, but on the other hand the closure of so much of the car park for so long could be detrimental to businesses.”

Michael Ibbotson, managing director or provence inns said: “We sympathise with those who are affected by the temporary closure of some of the car park, however this is only a temporary measure, and it is necessary for our extensive refurbishment and considerable investment of the Westpark Hotel, this well-loved Harrogate landmark.”