Figures reveal Harrogate Borough Council collects £3m from car parks

Harrogate Jubilee Car Park - Google Image
Harrogate Jubilee Car Park - Google Image

Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) made more than £3m in payments across the district’s car parks in 2015/16, a Freedom of Information Request has revealed.

The figures, obtained by the Harrogate Advertiser, come one week after North Yorkshire County Council announced proposals to increase on-street parking charges in Harrogate.

The tariff increase was proposed in order to “incentivise” motorists to use HBC owned car parks following a joint review of the town’s parking policy.

The price increase, which will be implemented in November alongside Sunday parking charges, will mean that it will now be cheaper to park off-street than it is on-street.

Despite the move expecting to raise additional income from HBC car parks, the council said that there are currently no plans to offer deals for motorists parking there.

HBC’s cabinet member for Planning and Sustainable Transport, Coun Rebecca Burnett, said that there were “clear” traffic management reasons for the increase in the charges.

She said: “There are clear reasons for the changes being made. We are always looking at the charges and we will keep reviewing them but we see them as being appropriate.

“Some of them are terribly cheap to park in compared to the likes of Leeds and York. At the same time we have to ask the question is people driving and parking in the town the best thing for congestion?

“If we lower the charges that will encourage more people to drive. So, if we look at our objectives, it does not make sense to me to lower the prices when we want people to use other modes of transport.”

Last year HBC collected more than £820,000 from the Jubilee car park and £730,000 from Victoria. Car parks in Ripon, including Victoria Grove, also brought in more than £340,000.

Coun Burnett explained that the money raised from car parks is not “ring-fenced” and goes towards a range of council services.

She said: “If you look at it in that way then it is used to keep the council tax low and it also enables us to continue to fund a number of services.

“It also goes into things like the parks and gardening services and the community safety work we do. It also goes back into keeping the car parks maintained.

“I don’t think it will have a negative effect on businesses as there is still plenty of availability off street and that price is not going up. Also, the Sunday charges will see a greater turnover of parking spaces.”