A CONTROVERSIAL pay and display parking scheme introduced on a busy high street does not appear to have badly affected trade, despite dire predictions.

However, there were still complaints on Yarm High Street that displaced parking from shop workers and shoppers is causing problems outside residents’ homes and in nearby Eaglescliffe.

Yarm Town Council was so worried about the potential affect on trade by Stockton Borough Council’s introduction of paid-for parking that it took the larger council to court at a cost of nearly £40,000 in 2012.

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However, the parish council lost its argument that Stockton council had failed to follow procedures properly, and the authority finally introduced the scheme on Monday, April 28, almost three months ago.

Pay and display parking was recently introduced on Northallerton’s High Street by neighbouring North Yorkshire County Council and it has caused anger with some shop-keepers reporting trade down by 40 per cent. In Northallerton shoppers only get the first half hour free and must pay 80p an hour after that.

In Yarm, shoppers can park for free for the first hour and then pay just £1 for the next two hours.

Paddy Morton, manager of the Strickland and Holt store, said trade had fallen off at first, but picked up again within weeks.

“Initially there was a bit of confusion but people got used to it and, to be honest, it’s OK,” he said.

Callum Murray, of Yarm Butchers, said: “Trade is a bit worse but I can’t tell if it’s the roadworks (caused by improvements to the area around the Town Hall) or the pay and display.”

Sue Emmerson, manager of the Lewis and Cooper deli, said trade had picked up after an initial big fall, but there had been trouble caused by shop workers and shoppers filling up the few long-stay car parks and parking inappropriately elsewhere.

Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: “We remain absolutely committed to delivering further long-stay parking options in Yarm.

“The recent planning approval for a new long-stay car park on land behind Barclays Bank was a step in the right direction and work is due to start there in the coming weeks.

“We have also had some encouraging contact with the owners of the site behind the Blue Bell pub, where a planning application for another long-stay car park was recently refused. They have indicated a desire to resolve the issues raised at Planning Committee in order to take that site forward.”

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