Elected community representatives have called for improved parking enforcement services across many towns and villages in North Yorkshire, saying some areas of the county are riddled with parking issues due to a lack of resources.
North Yorkshire councillors have claimed despite a forecast £3m annual parking enforcement surplus in the county, recent years have seen an unfair proportion of the resources pumped into Harrogate-based projects.
A meeting of North Yorkshire Council’s transport, economy, environment and enterprise scrutiny committee heard some visitor hotspot villages were examining how parking restrictions could be introduced as it was impacting on residents’ quality of life.
Another elected member claimed “nothing seems to be done about people parking on pavements”, while others highlighted issues resulting from people parking in residential areas to avoid paying for parking.
An officer’s report to the meeting revealed how the the lion’s share of the surplus had been used to reimburse bus operators for pensioners’ concessionary fares, boost the road repairs budget and improve the A1(M) junction between Harrogate and York.
The meeting heard councillors express concerns that while parking enforcement surpluses in some areas had been used to bolster general council “rainy day” funds, it had become apparent that Harrogate’s council had put forward a lengthy wish list of transport and road projects for its area.
The committee’s chairman, Councillor David Staveley, said: “It does feel slightly inequitable to other areas that have possibly contributed quite substantially to that fund. It does some of our areas are getting slightly short-changed.
“I think going forward we are one council. All residents should get a fair crack of the whip.”
Councillor Melanie Ann Davis said enforcement in Selby, which had received a “derisory” three per cent of the parking enforcement income, was “very poor” due to a lack of wardens.
She said: “I think we need an assurance that there is going to be a new look at this to see that there is a much more uniform service.”
The meeting heard while the parking enforcement surplus had been collected from across the county, there had been an agreement that Harrogate and Scarborough councils be consulted on how it was spent.
Councillors were told while the authority’s position would remain focused on encouraging off-street parking to reduce congestion, the launch of the unitary authority and the unification of off-street and street parking responsibilities at the new council presented an opportunity to review policies and investment priorities.
The authority’s corporate director Karl Battersby said while the surplus was currently being spent on an “eclectic mix” of legally permissible projects, the review would examine the county’s “mixed bag of charges, policies, enforcement”, and links between parking and active travel.
He said: “Going forward we are going to have a proper look at what this budget should and shouldn’t fund.”