North Yorkshire County Council branded "dictatorship" over parking charges plan

North Yorkshire County Council
North Yorkshire County Council

North Yorkshire County Council has been branded a ‘dictatorship’ after announcing controversial plans to reintroduce evening and Sunday parking charges in Harrogate earlier this month.

The county council has warned that a decision on the charges is set to be made this summer and that no further consultation will take place.

The announcement has sparked outrage among Harrogate residents and businesses after thousands petitioned the council to drop the charges when they were first proposed.

A new petition has been launched with hundreds adding their signature, including North Yorkshire county councillor David Simister (Bilton and Nidd Gorge).

He said: “No businesses or individuals that I have spoken to want this introduced. The charges are supposed to free up premium spaces but who is calling for them?

“The new petition suggests introducing disc parking as a parking control. The county council have said it’s not about the money but have then said disc parking is not an option.

“This is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship and it seems they are trying to push the charges through. The more people that sign the petition the more pressure we put on them.”

In February, the county council’s executive committee announced they were shelving the proposals in order to conduct further traffic management surveys.

However, Coun Don Mackenzie announced at a Chamber of Trade meeting on May 9 that the surveys had been carried out and the proposals would return ‘in the next few months’.

Coun Simister has urged the county council to publish this report and listen to petitioner’s concerns.

He said: “At November’s meeting, a unanimous decision was made to reject the charges. That was the message taken back to Cabinet who decided to do another survey.

“Where are the results and who was consulted. I want to see the data from these surveys that warrants introducing the charges.”