Controversy surrounding the Tour de Yorkshire and a lorry park which community leaders say is blighting the lives of residents looks set to mount after a council report stated while it would cost just £35,000 to resolve antisocial behaviour issues, there was no budget provision for it.
The potential cost of transforming Colburn lorry park near Catterick Garrison has been published days after a leading councillor staged an unprecedented protest over Richmondshire District Council’s decision to spend up to £305,000 on hosting one stage of the international cycling race.
Councillor Stuart Parsons has resigned as the administration’s spokesman for next year’s Tour de Yorkshire and from all the council’s committees.
The councillor said the decision to plough taxpayers money into the race instead of immediately resolving one of the district’s most pervasive issues for many years to come was “ludicrous”.
The council’s corporate board is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to press ahead with an ambition to build toilet and shower facilities at the well-used lorry park beside Catterick Road, which a report to the meeting states would cost £17,000 annually to maintain.
The proposal follows Colburn Town Council moving to buy the site from the district council in order to close it and stop the area around the site being used as “an open toilet”, before withdrawing its request earlier this year as neighbouring parishes complained antisocial behaviour issues would be pushed their way.
Ahead of the meeting, the authority’s spokesman for operational services Councillor Richard Good said: “The lorry park is a site that certainly needs looking at. There’s obviously issues that are concerning residents with overnight parking and hygiene issues that must be addressed.”
Both the lorry park site and support for the Tour de Yorkshire are issues that have already divided elected members of the council.
Last month while some members complained about the public purse being used to support the profit-making business ASO which runs the race, the majority agreed television coverage it generated, showcasing the area’s landscapes and attractions, boosted the local economy in the long-term.
Welcome to Yorkshire, which has revealed plans to attract businesses to help fund the event’s values such as diversity and equality, had warned that without the financial backing of councils the race could be moved elsewhere.
Councillor Parsons, who is also the opposition leader on North Yorkshire County Council, said Richmondshire council had examined the cost of the lorry park changes due to grave concerns over the site.
He said its elected members may have thought differently about agreeing to spend up to £305,000 on hosting a stage finish of the elite cycling race in Leyburn if they had known they needed to find money immediately for the lorry park.
He said: “The role of the district is surely to support the residents and improve their day to day lives.
“The benefits changes at the lorry park would bring the community are very evident.
“There would be at least ten years’ funding to maintain the lorry park if they weren’t wasting all this money on a one-day event and still have some change.”