North Yorkshire County Council is reviewing on-street parking charges in towns across the county to encourage visitors to use off-street car parks and reduce congestion.

On Friday, 30 September, the County Council’s Corporate Director for Business and Environmental Services will consider, in consultation with the Executive Members for Business and Environmental Services, a proposal to increase on-street charges in Harrogate where the county and borough councils have worked closely together recently to review the town’s parking policy.

Currently in Harrogate the on-street inner zone is the same price as the Jubilee long stay and only 10p more expensive than the Victoria long stay.  The on-street outer zone is cheaper than both long stay car parks.

Moreover, the on-street tariffs in Harrogate town have not changed since September 2011.  To achieve the right differential the county council believes that on-street parking charges should be markedly higher than off-street charges.

If the proposals go ahead, Monday to Sunday on-street parking tariffs in Harrogate will be increased as follows:

  • Short stay – increase tariff by 10p per 20 minutes
  • Inner zone – increase tariff by 10p per 30 minutes
  • Outer zone – increase tariff by 10p per 30 minutes

If approved, officers have suggested that the implementation of Sunday charges in Harrogate – agreed by the Executive in August – should be delayed and implemented at the same time as the tariff increase in early November.

The review work carried out to date has shown that the differential between the cost of on and off-street parking in some other parts of the county needs to be looked at in more detail and the county council will subsequently work with Harrogate Borough Council to review on-street parking tariffs in Knaresborough and the impact on traffic management; it will also work with Scarborough Borough Council to review on-street parking charges in Scarborough town, Whitby and Filey and will go on to review on-street arrangements in Northallerton.

“Our main aim is to reduce traffic congestion in our very busy town centres and in Harrogate we have been working closely with the Borough Council to review the impact of parking charges on congestion”, said County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways.  “It is a widely-established traffic management principle that on-street parking charges should be higher than off-street charges, because it helps to reduce the number of vehicles using the congested network to find a space as close as possible to their intended destination.”

The proposals follow Department for Transport guidance, which states that charges should encourage all but short-term parking to take place in nearby off-street car parks and consequently “charges for prime parking spaces in a busy town centre would normally be higher”.

“We have not raised on-street tariffs since 2011,” said Cllr Mackenzie, “and therefore we feel that a rise in tariffs at this stage is not unreasonable.

“There is no evidence to show that reasonable parking charges have a negative impact on town centre economies.  Indeed, our prime purpose is to reduce congestion and make our town centres even more attractive to visitors. There are plenty of empty spaces in Harrogate’s off-street car parks currently and a policy that encourages people to use these off-street spaces, which reduces on-street congestion, must be a positive step forward for the business, cultural and recreational life of the town.

“We have made it much easier to pay for parking, having introduced new ticket machines a few weeks ago. Unlike the old ones, these take cards as well as cash, which means that visitors to the town centre pay for exactly the time they need, rather than have to rely upon the change in their pocket.”