Harrogate Borough Council have been forced to backtrack over a decision to close Pateley Bridge’s main car park for maintenance work over the Christmas period.
High-street traders reacted furiously when they arrived at their businesses on Friday morning (November 21) to hand-delivered letters from the council informing them of the car park’s closure.
The letter, from parking services manager Susan McGarry, stated that Southlands Car Park would be closed for ‘essential maintenance work’ from Monday, November 24, until Saturday, December 13.
However, following a meeting between Ms McGarry and traders on the high street, a decision has been made to postpone the maintenance work.
A statement from Harrogate Borough Council read: “Harrogate Borough Council has reconsidered its plans of when to begin refurbishment of Southlands Car Park.
“We will now postpone the works until after Christmas in order to support local businesses in the run up to the festive season.”
Keith Tordoff, chair of Nidderdale’s Chamber of Trade, had described the timing of the closure as a ‘disaster’ as the car park was ‘essential for trade over Christmas.
He said: “They have listened to our concerns and we and all the traders are very relieved but we should not have had the shock of the letter this morning.
“This should never have happened. Three or four of the businesses told me that they had not even had a letter through their door this morning.
“I am still mystified how the council made such a massive decision with no consultation. They have not done their due diligence.
“It has taken me a full morning to deal with this as I have had ten traders through my door asking me what is going on.”
Mr Tordoff, owner of the Oldest Sweet Shop in Pateley Bridge, originally complained the council had given traders ‘less than a day’s working notice’ over their decision.
The businessman said he was now looking forward to the festive period after previously warning that his fellow traders ‘might be writing Christmas off’.