Mayor expects parking charges - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

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PARKING charges are likely to be introduced in Pocklington, according to the town’s mayor Graham Perry.

It follows a public meeting at the Pocklington Arts Centre on Tuesday where the findings of a detailed survey of parking in the town were revealed.

The study found that, of the 300 people asked, 74 per cent of people opposed East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s plan to install pay and display machines at the town’s three long-stay car parks, with just 13 per cent in favour.

However, a straw poll held at the end of the meeting saw a majority of local residents in attendance vote for charges to be introduced.

Mayor of Pocklington, Councillor Graham Perry, believes the town council will go along with the straw poll.

He said: “When we took the straw poll it was very clear the majority of people wanted to adopt the East Riding proposals. I thought the survey gave a clear understanding of how the three car parks are being used and by whom. It takes some of the mythology away.

“The town council will now be discussing where we go from here. I strongly expect the council will go along with the straw poll. That is my reading of the councillors who were present. It needs to be discussed by the full council. The conclusion will need to be reached by the full council.”

There were 13 people at the meeting who voted in favour of ERYC introducing pay and display at the West Green car park and the ones at the front and rear of the old railway station.

Seven locals voted for the option of paying ERYC for extended free parking time. The survey, conducted by Hull-based consultancy firm Panda People, found that 57 per cent of Pocklington residents interviewed are prepared to pay about £4.63 per year (for a band D rate payer) to extend the free parking in the car parks to one hour. To extend it to two hours, which would cost about £8.42 per year for a band D household, only 33 per cent of residents were in favour.

The third option, for the town council to lease the car parks from ERYC and keep them free to use, received just four votes at the meeting. If the town council did choose this option, it would cost Pocklington rate payers £26,000 extra a year, or about £9 each for a band D household. The town council will be checking the lease costs again after former Pocklington councillor Alex Petrie claimed at the meeting they did not include business rates of £8,000.

Other interesting findings from the car parking study include nearly half of people who park their vehicles in Pocklington said they would look for alternative free parking if charges were introduced.

It also found that 20 people park in the ERYC car parks regularly to catch the bus and between 25 and 40 people park in the car parks on a regular basis for work. An additional 35-50 vehicles park in the West Green car parks, including the one belonging to Pocklington Town Council, when Pocklington School is open.

In terms of on-street unrestricted parking, of the 283 on-street spaces, some of which are in residential areas such as Kirkland Street, Scaife Garth and Union Street, the most vehicles recorded at any one period was at midday on a Tuesday market day during the school term when 211 vehicles were counted. Only 149 were counted at the same time on a weekday during half-term.

After the survey’s results were announced at Tuesday’s meeting, locals were given the chance to share their views on the matter. One Pocklington resident, Hugh Minion, argued: “It’s time we realised motorists should pay for the privilege of bringing their cars to the town.”

Chris Barnes, another resident from the town, said: “I would like to see shops in the town centre thrive. Parking policy does have an impact on how many people come to the town and shop. We should displace people who park in the centre and make them park further away.”

A handful of people also gave their backing to the idea of finding an area in the town for people parking to catch the bus.