Leyburn town centre parking changes delayed over legal concerns

Leyburn Market Place.

Efforts to resolve decades of parking issues in Leyburn’s three historic squares have been delayed over legal concerns relating to a law dating back to before the First World War.

Leyburn Town Council is seeking definitive clarification from the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations and the National Association of Local Councils about the impact of the Open Spaces Act 1906 on the Market Place, Commercial Square and Grove Square.

The move comes some three years after the issue of car parking provoked the strongest responses from residents and traders to a survey conducted for Leyburn Town Plan.

The study found a strong majority in favour of action over car parking in the town, with many people in favour of free time-limited parking in the central squares.

The report stated: “Car parking is the single most important issue for the town.

“There was a clear view, from both residents and businesses, in favour of swift action and a strong preference for free time-limited disc parking in the town squares.”

The squares, which feature donation boxes for motorists to make contributions, remain unregulated but are registered under the 115-year-old legislation.

It is believed the act could include restrictive covenants which limit the proportion of the squares which could be made into a formal car park, which could severely restrict the number of car parking spaces.

Town council chair, Councillor Richard Sanderson said: “I believe it desperately needs something doing with parking on the squares, but whatever we do will have a cost implication to the rate-payers of Leyburn.

“As it stands they are just open spaces, people park there, but there’s no regulation, and people do unfortunately take advantage of that parking there all day which stops the churn of cars and people being able to shop in the town centre.”

Coun Sanderson, a former chairman of the Leyburn Business Association, said improvements to town centre parking were a long-held aspiration for many traders and residents alike.

He said: “We are trying to clarify the legal status, what legally we can do with the squares as open spaces.

“If we look to put on a Traffic Regulation Order on them what is the process of doing that, if it needs de-registering from the Open Spaces Act or putting a local by-law on them.

“Once we know what we can or cannot do with the squares then we will look at costings for ideas such as pay and display, two-hour disc parking or what would be the cheapest option, placing a by-law on the squares.

“If parking was to be regulated on the squares we will also look at where traffic may be displaced to.”


  1. I thought this was all explored some time ago and that it was possible to change the status of the squares but required an act of Parliament but this could be achieved with a private members bill which would usually pass through the Houses of Parliament unopposed. I think Thirsk did this so they could introduce parking regulations into their market place which is considerably larger that those of Leyburn. That was possibly in the late seventies or early eighties.

  2. So Leyburn councillors want to kill off what remains of the town by restricting parking. Serendipity, gone, Costa, gone others to follow. What there is works very well but measures suggested would mean many visitors won’t stop and I, as a local resident, will move more of my shopping activities online. This is backward thinking.

  3. It is insane that by 8 to 9am. the parking spaces in the market space are filled up with those working in the area or going out walking. The town needs visitors to be able to stay a brief time for shoppng or having a snack etc. rather than no spaces and hence move on somewhere else.

    • Totally agree with the above, Disc parking would work and if people living/working in the town centre were given preferential terms for parking in the main car park that might just solve the problem.

  4. Pretty much all of North Yorkshires market towns have ruined their town squares and market places by devoting them to car parking. Theses should be attractive sociable and social places of architectural merit for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike. These should be spaces for people and deserve much better than being packed full of vehicles from dawn to dusk.

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