A CONCERNED resident is calling on local councillors and East Riding Council to develop a car parking strategy for Pocklington before a decision is made on the town’s car parks.
Richard Borrie, of Algarth Rise, Pocklington, believes a detailed strategy should be put in place before it is decided whether or not Pocklington Town Council should take control of the three long-stay car parks and keep them free to use, which would cost taxpayers £25,350.
If the town council do nothing, then the local authority plan to introduce pay and display as part of their drive to balance parking charges across the region.
Mr Borrie would also like to see East Riding Council increase car parking capacity in the town to address congestion problems and to deal with the increasing population of Pocklington.
He said: “I am against the proposals because regardless of which option they go for it means paying more for car parking. Whether it be charges or council tax, I don’t think Pocklington Town Council or East Riding Council should be considering such a major change without a proper car parking strategy, which they don’t have.
“The key part of my concern is that neither the town council or East Riding Council have any idea of what the car parking capacity is in the town but they are building new houses. They need to put together a proper car parking strategy together that addresses the needs of the town. When they have done that we will know how much car parking capacity they need.”
Councillor Martin Cooper of Pocklington Town Council agrees that a car parking strategy is required before a decision is made.
He said: “When you look at the car parking issue you need to look at the whole picture. As a council we need to understand the fundamental requirements of residents and shoppers. An up-to-date parking strategy would be essential before making any decision about leasing or buying free time for the car parks.
“I think there is scope for looking into having a commuter car park near the Hodsow Lane roundabout so people can park securely and catch a bus into York or wherever. That may be an idea to alleviate the car parking issue.”
Coun Tony Marron claims a strategy already exists which he wants Pocklington Town Council to discuss at the next appropriate meeting.
He said: “Pocklington Town Council already has a car parking strategy for the town which I will ask to be put on the agenda of the next appropriate council meeting where we will discuss updating it and where we will look into the feasibility of conducting research to understand how car parking is being used in the town and the impact that car parking charges may have on this.”
A referendum is expected to be held to decide what to do with the car parks, including West Green and the front and rear of the old railway station.
If Pocklington residents decide paying the £25,350 to keep the car parks free is the best option, each household may have to pay around £9.35 extra a year for their annual town precept, which is currently £67.18.
If they think pay and display is the best option, then the idea would not be introduced until October 2012 at the earliest. The third ‘in-between’ option Pocklington Town Council is considering may be to pay the local authority to extend the proposed half an hour free parking to one hour and have pay and display after that.
The car park review began in 2009 with the idea of introducing pay and display in many of the free car parks in the East Riding. This sparked huge protests across the region as 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.
In the summer of 2010, 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 shelved the plans in February last year until there were two consecutive quarters of economic growth.