THE COST of keeping Pocklington’s car parks free to the public will be around £26,000, the town council have revealed.
Local councillors were given the sizeable figure before a recent meeting with East Riding officials.
A referendum is expected to be held to decide whether the people of Pocklington want to pay the £26,000 and keep the town’s three long-stay car parks free or allow pay and display to be introduced.
To cover the lease costs, each Pocklington household may have to pay around £8 extra a year for their annual town precept, which is currently £67.18.
Three members of the town council, Councillor Tony Marron, Coun Richard Bryon and town clerk Richard Wood, met with officials from County Hall in Beverley last month.
Speaking about the meeting with the local authority, Coun Marron said: “We were already presented with an agreement before we got there and discussed the numbers and details of the contract. It’s about what we are expecting.
“We have at least got a situation where we can keep the car parks but there is an associated cost with that.
“We know how the figure was arrived at and a lease that is reasonable.”
There were initial fears that lease costs could be around £42,000 which is what East Riding Council predicted as their annual income if pay and display machines were used at Pocklington’s car parks, including West Green and the front and rear of the old railway station.
But that figure did not include deductions for repairs which would be around £13,000 per year and business rates which would be roughly £3,000.
The new Mayor of Pocklington, Coun Graham Perry, said: “They [East Riding Council] seem to be more sensible about the figure now, and I think Pocklington council now needs to have a civilised debate on the pros and cons on how it could be managed.
“It’s my opinion that the council should form a view, put a price together and then seek the opinion of the people of Pocklington.
“We need to have a public presentation and see what they want us to do.”
The car park review was launched in 2009 with the idea of introducing pay and display in many of the free car parks in the East Riding.
But this sparked huge protests across the region as thousands of residents, shoppers and shopkeepers signed petitions and organised marches.
Some people are concerned that charges will kill off local businesses, deter visitors and force drivers into on-street parking.
Last summer, members of various parish and town councils across the region formed a group called Council of Councils Against Car Parking Charges to fight East Riding Council’s plans.
The county council put the plans on the back burner in February last year until there were two consecutive quarters of economic growth.