Scarborough Council’s cabinet has been asked to drop its “confusing” plan to bring in winter parking charges across the borough.
The cabinet voted last month to charge £1 for 24 hours parking in some of the borough’s car parks from November to March. There was previously no charge.
That decision also created a residents “virtual” parking permit, which would give people living in the borough a cheaper rate of payment in car parks. The cost for non-residents would increase at the same time.
Today, the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board voted unanimously to ask the cabinet to reconsider the scheme and drop the winter parking element.
The meeting at Scarborough Town Hall followed a call-in by Cllr Janet Jefferson (Ind) who said the situation was “confusing” as part of Scarborough seafront was managed by Scarborough Council and another part by North Yorkshire County Council.
The board also heard from traders from Scarborough who railed against the move.
James Corrigan, who has been a trader in Scarborough for 31 years, said the council would suffer reputational damage as its employees could still park on Foreshore Road and Sandside for free in winter to get to work, as there were no parking machines on the county council-controlled road.
He said: “Your employees are parking for free on Monday to Fridays and that is a very bitter pill to swallow.”
He said the parking situation in Scarborough with the borough and county councils was already confusing residents and visitors without this new plan.
He added: “I must congratulate you and the county council in developing what is the most complicated, confusing, unwelcome and ad hoc parking scheme in what must be the country and we are adding another level of confusion to that.”
The chairman of the South Bay Traders’ Association, John Senior, also told the councillors that businesses were suffering.
He said: “This year has been an extremely difficult trading year, I think most of us are down by 15%. We had our worst day ever last Friday, and that was a sunny day.
“I have had to lay off three members of staff, I didn’t have to do that last year.”
He asked the council not to bring in the winter charges.
He added: “It is not the right thing to do to charge more, or bring a charge in, at a time when things are extremely tough.”
Cllr Tony Randerson (Lab) said the pair has spoken with a “common sense that has been lacking in this chamber recently.”
One area of confusion highlighted by Cllr Jefferson was that some areas of Scarborough and Whitby had parking areas which switched between the borough and county councils with little warning.
Cllr Jefferson told the meeting that she had been told by the county it was not going to bring in winter charges in its car parks.
However, Cllr Martin Smith, the cabinet member for leisure, said he had since been emailed from Couty Hall saying the authority may bring in its own charges if Scarborough pressed ahead with the changes.
Cllr Andrew Backhouse (Con) told the meeting he did not think Scarborough should charge in the winter.
He said: “I am struggling as to why we want to fall in line with other places that charge [for parking] all year round.
“Why can we not be singular to ourselves?”
The board heard that the cost of bringing in the residents parking permit without introducing free winter parking would cost the council an estimated £84,000.
By bringing in winter parking charges the council hoped to cut that figure in half
The board voted unanimously to ask the cabinet to drop the winter charging plan, which would have come into force in January, and look again at the whole scheme after a full financial year.
The cabinet will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the board’s recommendation.