COUNCIL leaders have moved to reassure residents over the future of a town centre car park amid fears traffic chaos could return to Northallerton.

The Crosby Road car park in the heart of the town is being leased off by Hambleton District Council as part of the major treadmills development on the prison site.

But 130 of the 220 car parking spaces have been leased by Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan to relieve pressure on car parking around the nearby police headquarters which does not have enough spaces.

Residents were up in arms last year after workers at the police headquarters started parking in surrounding streets because of a lack of room, causing chaos in the area around the headquarters and creating problems for the local primary school.

Deputy leader of Hambleton District Council, Councillor Peter Wilkinson attended Northallerton Town Council to allay fears. He is also Chair of the Central Northallerton Development Company which is working with developers on the new Treadmills site.

He said the car park would be leased by the development company for 27 years from April, and they had had discussions with the police and local residents to ensure they were reassured.

He added: "There will continue to be community use. In the short to medium term, there will be no alteration."

It's understood use of the car park could continue for up to four years, but could change as the Treadmill development progresses to build shops, a cinema and apartments. A special silver group has been set up with the police, councillors and residents to address problems.

Councillor Jack Dobson said the car park was built for community use, but local people fear it is being taken away. He added: "Residents concerns have to be addressed, they are afraid it will be taken away when it is leased, and what will the contribution to the public purse be from this?"

Councillor John Prest said there had always been spaces in Crosby Road car park and there was off road parking in Lascelles Lane, as well as residents permits. He added: "We all have our feelings about what has gone on there, but at least the Police and the District Council are speaking to the residents and they can get information, I don't know what else we can do."