A candidate hoping to become North Yorkshire's first mayor has pledged that free car parking will be offered to every town and city in the region if he is elected. 

Conservative candidate Keane Duncan said he would fund up to two hours of free parking in a “much-needed boost for retail and hospitality” under a one-year pilot.

Using new mayoral funding, free parking would be introduced in designated council-owned car parks in locations without it currently, such as York, Scarborough, Skipton, Harrogate, Pickering and Selby, according to the candidate.

Meanwhile, free parking would be expanded by up to two hours where some free parking is already available, such as Northallerton, Thirsk and Knaresborough.

This pledge from Mr Duncan comes during his campaign for the election, which will take place on May 2.

In the election, other candidates include Felicity Cunliffe-Lister (Lib Dems) Kevin Foster (Green Party), Paul Haslam (Independent), David Skaith (Labour), and Keith Tordoff (Independent).

In the build up to the election, several candidates have pledged promises on transport, including Liberal Democrat candidate Felicity Cunliffe-Lister has said that a single ticket joined up network of public transport to connect all of us across the region will be transformational if she's elected.

Meanwhile, Labour candidate David Skaith has pledged to create a system that incorporates public transport, cycling and private vehicles in his plan if elected.

The Northern Echo: Keane DuncanKeane Duncan (Image: Keane Duncan)

Speaking about his plans for free parking, Mr Duncan said: “The future of our town and city centres depends on the success of our local businesses, but it’s tough right now.

“So to give a much-needed boost to retail and hospitality, I will offer funding for free car parking in every town and city.

“Of course, every location works differently, so I’ll work with local businesses to agree on a tailored offer for each area, with up to two hours free.

“This would be targeted to get maximum business benefit, for example in particular car parks, or at certain times of day when footfall is lowest.

“This is a major investment in the vitality of our town and city centres, and it will become a reality if I am elected mayor in May.”

Mr Duncan said he would work with North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council to introduce the one-year pilot and compensate them for lost car parking income.

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Footfall would be monitored throughout, and the offer attuned as required, based on feedback from business owners, according to the Conservative candidate.

Mr Duncan said: “I am confident the pilot will be a success for businesses in our towns and cities.

“If there is positive feedback from traders, and the councils can be convinced of the benefits, I hope funding can be agreed to expand the free car parking beyond the first year permanently.”