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Town leaders to fight High Street parking charges
9:50pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A TOWN council has pledged to lead a battle against plans to cut congestion and improve access to shops by introducing high street parking charges.
Members of Northallerton Town Council unanimously backed a call by former mayor and shop owner John Coulson to set up a meeting in the coming weeks with traders and the public to discuss the North Yorkshire County Council proposal.
Northallerton Retail and Business Forum, which represents about 100 firms in the town, said the reasoning behind the move to charging motorists parking in the High Street 80p an hour after a free 30-minute period was “ludicrous”.
The county council’s executive is set to launch a public consultation exercise over its scheme to create a higher turnover of the 250 parking spaces in High Street, Northallerton, and reduce pollution in the town centre by charging motorists 80p an hour after a free 30-minute period.
The council said it had followed advice from the Institution of Highways and Transportation, which stated it was important that charges be set to limit demand to a level where some parking spaces remained available at all times to reduce the temptation to park illegally.
It added the Department of Transport had advised that charges should reflect the value of kerb-space, to encourage all but short-term parking to take place in off-street car parks, such as the Applegarth car park, where the charge is 50p an hour.
Councillor Coulson, who runs the Print Room, in Elder Road, said he felt the plans were a step too far and that people facing parking fees would look to out-of-town alternatives to businesses that offer lower cost services and goods.
He said: “I hope everybody comes out and fights it like mad.
“I was being told last week how civil parking enforcement, which started in May, had greatly improved the High Street, but this will be the ruination of our market town.
“This affects everybody and many people can’t afford to pay to park nowadays, particularly with the high cost of petrol, and Northallerton has always relied on people coming in from the surrounding villages.”
A spokesman for the forum, whose members include Barkers department store, Lewis and Coopers and Bettys, said firms had been deeply disappointed by the proposal, but that it had not been a surprise.
He said: “The reason behind it is ludicrous if as the county council concedes its own crackdown on over-stayers in the disc zone is improving the situation. Why not give it a proper chance to bed in?
“This smacks of a decision that has already been taken to provide extra revenue with no consideration to council tax payers or traders, who are after all vital employers at a time when two of the town’s major employers are pulling out.”
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