The end of free car parks for Pock

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CAR PARKING charges will be enforced in Pocklington next year.

Pocklington town councillors voted against leasing West Green and the two Station car parks from East Riding Council which would have kept them free for users but meant Pocklington rate payers footing the bill.

The decision came following research conducted by consultants Panda, commissioned by the town council, which found that the majority of the town’s three car parks were being filled by workers leaving their cars all day.

The charges will be introduced from around next October and will initially cost users 50p for the first hour, £1.20 for two hours, £1.90 for three hours, and £2.50 all day.

At last Wednesday’s town council meeting, Deputy Mayor Coun Tony Marron said that the town council remained strongly opposed to charges being introduced, but that the costs of keeping them free was too much to ask of Pocklington residents.

He said: “I think East Riding Council has set the bar too high, that we should pay tens of thousands of pounds to keep them free.

“I think we should hold the ward councillors and East Riding Council to account for the impact on the town centre and on the local economy.”

He suggested that the town council should review the situation in a year’s time and make arrangements with East Riding Council that they would still have the option to lease the car parks if the charges were found to be adversely affecting town centre trade.

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Previously the town council had considered leasing the car parks at a cost of £26,000 a year which would keep them free all day, but cost Pocklington rate payers about £9 per year for a Band D household.

A spokesman for East Riding Council said that when the charges are introduced they will initially be set at the lowest rate.

He said that proposals to introduce charging at Station and West Green car parks would take effect no earlier than October 2012, and then only if certain conditions relating to national economic growth are met.

“Any charging would for the first year be at a low nominal rate and subject to a review after the first year of charging to evaluate the impact on the economic performance of the town.

“Thereafter charging would be at the lowest band and there would be a continuation of the free first half hour,” he added.

74 per cent of motorists surveyed in Pocklington objected to the charges, with just 13 per cent in favour, according to Panda’s research.

Over half (57 per cent) of those questioned said that they would park elsewhere in Pocklington rather than pay the charges, prompting some concerns that residential streets close to the town centre will become clogged up with parked cars.

Town Mayor Coun Graham Perry said this was something that could lead to the council having to consider a permit system into the future.

He said: “People who are against paying to park will probably try and find the most convenient street on which to park their car free, if that happens to be outside your house on George Street, home owners with other people’s cars outside their house in what they see to be ‘their’ space may get upset.

“We will probably get a bit of that and that may yet lead us to permitted parking for people who live on those streets.

“But that would be something separate and yet to be considered.”

Motorists can now expect the charges to come into force towards the end of next year at the three East Riding of Yorkshire Council owned car parks; West Green, Station and Station Rear.

There are currently no plans to change the arrangements for on street parking in the town centre.