PEOPLE of Scarborough have spoken – with a resounding cry of “no”.
More than 4,000 have signed a petition against Scarborough Council’s proposal to introduce parking charges in Marine Drive during winter months.
Cllr Subash Sharma, who represents residents living in the North Bay ward, handed the 4,241-signature document in at the Town Hall yesterday and said he was amazed by the response.
He added: “I didn’t go out into the streets to get signatures – it was put into businesses. None of them were trying to get signatures. People were seeing it, reading it and signing it.”
Cllr Sharma said that during the early days of the petition he would leave just a few sheets at each location but they were quickly filled and he could not keep up with demand. “It could easily have been 6,000 or 7,000 signatures.”
He added that, if the charges were introduced, it would deter visitors and have an impact on local businesses.
County councillors Peter Popple and Janet Jefferson have also been campaigning against the introduction of the proposed charge – which has been suggested for the past three years.
Cllr Popple said that the free parking, between November and February, attracted locals to the area and helped keep the north side open during the off-season.
He said: “The impact of the proposed charges will affect our cafes and other businesses and could result in them closing down for the winter – as used to be the trading pattern.
“We are trying to develop Scarborough as an all-year-round resort and I believe this proposal is a backward step and has not been thought through.
“It is not in the interest of north side traders, residents or the council.”
A period of public consultation into the proposal ended yesterday and Brian Bennett, the council’s head of tourism, said that so far seven letters of opposition had been received as well as the petition.
He added that money raised though activities such as parking was used by the council to provide a range of services. “Car parks are not free – it does cost money to maintain them.”
The proposal is due to be discussed at a meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday February 14, and Mr Bennett said that any late letters would be verbally reported to members. He added: “4,000 people have signed the petition and we’ve got to look at the wording of it.”