Lack of parking still major issue for town

Wetherby centre has too few parking spaces compared with other market towns, a study has revealed.

Data collected by Action for Market Towns - a nationwide organisation which promotes small market towns across the UK - showed Wetherby’s historic town centre fell well short of the national average for available parking spaces on both market and non-market days.

Figures-presented at May’s Wetherby Town Council monthly meeting and a recent Welcome to Wetherby meeting, show there was just five per cent of vacant parking spaces available on Thursdays - Wetherby’s market day - compared to the national average of 27 per cent.

On non-market days, there was just eight per cent of vacant parking spaces, with the national average for market towns across the UK 41 per cent.

Commenting on the report - which collected data on a 12 key areas in the town - Welcome to Wetherby chairman and town councillor Cindy Bentley said: “When we looked at the comments made by town centre users, the only area where we fell below the national average was on parking.

“On the whole, the report is a very positive one, but it does identify areas where improvement is needed and the Welcome to Wetherby team, along with the Town Council, will continue to look at ways of doing this.”

“Those of us who drive into town are well aware that it is often difficult to find somewhere to park, particularly on a Thursday, and especially so if you need to stay longer than two hours.”

Figures also revealed Wetherby had just four per cent of empty shop units in the town compared with the national average of eight per cent, this is despite the fact that commercial rents in Wetherby are much higher than the national average.

Wetherby also scored highly on its number of independent convenience shops in the town.

Mrs Bentley added: “When you look round the town, you realise that our convenience shop percentage is twice the national average because we still have independent butchers, bakers, a greengrocer, a fishmonger and a deli – the type of shops which have disappeared from many towns.”