Harrogate's MP criticises parking charges

Harrogate's MP criticises parking charges

Published at 3:25pm 17th November 2015. (Updated at 5:15pm 17th November 2015)

Harrogate’s MP, Andrew Jones, has joined growing opposition to plans for evening and Sunday on-street parking charges.

Following a consultation, North Yorkshire County Council has decided to recommend introducing the charges which will be considered at a Harrogate area committee meeting on Thursday.

Once councillors have given their opinion, a final decision will be made.

Under the proposals, Sunday charges would be the same as the Monday to Saturday daytime tariff. 

A flat rate of £2 would apply during the evening.

North Yorkshire County Council says the proposals will help free up parking spaces. 

Mr Jones said: "Parking charges cannot be introduced simply to swell council coffers. The law states there has to be a good traffic management reason for their introduction. On shopping days, the rationale is that charges ensure a turnover of spaces, giving everyone the opportunity to shop in town. Most people can see the logic of that argument."

A report states that evening charges will "increase the likelihood of premium on-street spaces being available for night-time visitors to the town".

Mr Jones added: "I live in Harrogate, and as the area's Member of Parliament, I attend a great many charity functions and events in the evenings. It is quite obvious that there is very little difficulty finding a parking space on an evening. The rationale that charges will increase the availability of evening spaces is just wrong - there are plenty of spaces available all over town already in the evening. I am astonished that this is the basis the County Council is using for introducing charges.

"I know it is sometimes difficult to admit you are wrong or to consider alternative views late in a process, but I ask the County Council to take a different view to that put forward by officers in this report. No-one likes paying parking charges, but if they are implemented, there needs to be acceptance by those paying them that the charges are necessary. I believe that evening visitors to our town, seeing empty on-street spaces all around them, would not come to that view."