Plan to scrap free winter parking in Scarborough is "ludicrous"

North Street car park
North Street car park

A plan to scrap free winter parking in the Scarborough borough has been described as “ludicrous” by one councillor.

Independent councillor Janet Jefferson made the claim as the authority looks set to introduce a charge in order to finance a discount for residents in council-owned car parks.

On Tuesday, the council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the plans to bring in a £1 for 24-hours charge in currently free car parks across the borough between November and February.

In a report to go before the council’s cabinet on Tuesday, the council now states that a £10 charge for residents to get the new parking permit to allow them to get a discount will no longer be applied.

Instead, a “virtual” permit will be introduced which will not incur any cost but would be renewed online each year.

To offset the cost of the scheme the amount charged to people from outside the borough to use the car parks would be increased.

However, Cllr Jefferson says that the plan to push ahead with charging in winter “makes no sense.”

She said: “People can say that it is only £1 but it is the principle.

“As we have seen with the closure of toilets and tourist information centres, people will vote with their feet.

“All the people I have spoken to are against the loss of free winter parking. A 10% discount in car parks for residents with a 10% increase for people from outside the borough will look unfair.

“I don’t know anywhere else that charges visitors more to park. I have a lot of guesthouse owners telling me they feel it is punishing visitors.

“I just can’t see the logic behind it.”

Following a public consultation on the plans six letters of objection have been received by Scarborough Council.

However, among the objections are letters from two of Scarborough’s most influential groups, the Scarborough Hospitality Association and the South Bay Traders Association.

The South Bay traders said the scrapping of the free winter parking and increased prices for visitors would cause “untold damage to [Scarborough’s] reputation”.

However, in the cabinet report, the council’s deputy operations manager said there was “no evidence” to support the claim.

She added: “Officers see members of the public approaching machines expecting to pay in the winter months. It is considered that a charge of £1 for 24 hours parking is not unreasonable.”

The report adds that other councils, including York, offers discounts for residents.

If approved the scheme would come into force in January.