PROTESTERS are urged to turn out in force once again to show opposition to plans to sell two Richmond car parks.

Richmondshire resources committee is due to meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposed sale of Station Road and York Square car parks and the authority's Richmond offices to fund a new £4.5m headquarters in Colburn.

The meeting has been adjourned twice after 800 people turned up to hear the debate. Attendance on Wednesday will be limited.

However, Mayor Stuart Parsons said: "It is important to have a show of force and let people know how strong opposition is."

Coun Parsons, who has repeatedly condemned the proposals, said: "The council hasn't looked at the economics, and has no business case or justification for the plans. It hasn't even attempted to get round the difficulties posed by the local plan. Councillors should pull these proposals and come back with something reasonable."

Richmond Business and Tourism Association has renewed its opposition to the proposals.

Chairman Philip Wicks said: "Parking is a vital resource for market towns, and both Station Road and York Square should be kept for the long-term vitality and prosperity of Richmond. Retaining office space and associated jobs is equally important to the town's future. Colburn's gain should not be Richmond's loss."

* A meeting to discuss the role which Richmondshire District Council's leader John Blackie has played in the proposed car park sale has been rescheduled to Tuesday, at 6.30, in Swale House.

It has been called by five councillors and follows statements by Coun Blackie that his Conservative council group had always been against the sale but had not had the chance to debate the issue in public.

The meeting will discuss the suggestion that the leader had been fully consulted and was aware of the proposals.

See Letters, page 21.