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AUDIO: Council shelves plans for extra parking charges

AUDIO: Council shelves plans for extra parking charges

Published at 4:18pm 4th February 2016. (Updated at 5:40pm 4th February 2016)

Plans to introduce evening and Sunday on-street parking charges in Harrogate have been put on hold.

North Yorkshire County Council has postponed its final decision after fierce opposition from residents, businesses and local councillors.

It says that all parking tariffs in town will now be reviewed.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's Executive Member for Highways, said: "Postponing any decision about on-street charges until all parking charges in the town have been considered and the right balance between on and off-street charges has been achieved is the right thing to do at this time.

"Effective management of parking and parking charges in the centre of Harrogate is essential to the town's economy, which remains one of the strongest and most diverse in the county.

"I have always stated that these new charges were being proposed to encourage regular turnover of premium parking spaces for shoppers and other visitors to our town centre who wish to visit our shops, restaurants, pubs and the many other facilities the town has to offer.

"Good parking policy states that drivers wanting to park for long periods should be encouraged to use off-street car parks and that charges should be lower there than in the premium parking spaces on streets in town centres, which should be kept available for short-term parking.

"The current situation on Sundays and in the evenings encourages the opposite: the streets are free and the car parks charge, and that is why, on Sundays especially, the streets are fully parked up with very little movement, whilst the car parks have plenty of space.

"Nevertheless, I welcome the decision to delay changes. We will now have further meaningful meetings with different stakeholders to agree how we can properly manage all parking in the town centre to ensure that the economy of Harrogate remains one of the strongest and most diverse in the country."

County Councilllor David Simister, who is one of those opposing the charges, has given the latest development a cautious welcome:

Plans to introduce new parking ticket machines, which take both cash and electronic payments, will still go ahead in Harrogate over the next few weeks.