PLANS to sell two town centre car parks for housing have been labelled a joke by objectors.

Richmondshire District Council is proposing to sell Station Road car park and part of York Square car park, in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Officers say the council needs the money to fund its new £4m headquarters in Colburn.

But community and business leaders said the plans would harm Richmond's economy.

Philip Wicks, chairman of Richmond Business and Tourism Association, said: "There is already not enough car parking spaces in the town and, consequently, the loss of existing parking spaces is a development we would not be in favour of.

"It would deter people from Richmond as a tourist and business destination."

Richmond town and district councillor Stuart Parsons described the plans as an intriguing joke.

He said: "It feels like there is a deliberate plan to run down Richmond.

"This is degeneration rather than regeneration."

Council officers say 17 flats with car parking could be built on the York Square car park site.

Space would be left for 17 public parking spaces and a picnic area, but there would be no space for coaches, which currently park on the site.

Officers say 24 houses and flats could be built on Station Road car park, which is currently used by council staff.

A final decision will be made by the council on Thursday.