THE cost to Whitby residents of resubmitting plans for a new park and ride system on the edge of town has been revealed.
Alterations to the plans have meant they needed to be resubmitted, at a cost of £25,000, outraging residents who already feel the scheme is waste of funds that could be better used elsewhere.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of Whitby Town Council on Tuesday, councillor Ian Havelock said: “It should be rejected on the grounds it’s an intrusion into the national park. This proposal will do very little to help any parking problems or driving problems in Whitby, which are very small anyway.
“If the park and ride were to fail, which I would very much like it to do, the money could possibly be used to provide better transport links, far more important than providing better parking for the tourism industry.”
Planning permission for the park and ride scheme was first granted in 2009 for a period of three years. It expired earlier this year, prior to the Department of Transport granting £3.7m for the scheme.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said that they could have just re-submitted the plans at a cost of £500, but they instead took the opportunity to review the design, in an attempt to make-up a £500,000 shortfall in funds.
She added: “The opportunity was taken to review the design of the on site building at the park and ride site to make both the construction and ongoing running costs of the building more affordable. These revisions required us to submit a new planning application regardless of whether we had obtained an extension or not.”
Improvements to the scheme include the presence of low level lighting throughout the night, to dissuade the congregation of youths. The park and ride would also now be in operation all year round, where it previously operated on a seasonal basis, and Coun Phil Trumper said: “I think there’s been an improvement to the plans. An extra 450 spaces isn’t perfect but it will help alleviate the problem.”
In addition to 250 permanent spaces, an overflow area that can accommodate 200 extra cars will also be constructed.
At WTC’s monthly meeting a member of the public raised the question of why 450 parking spaces are being created for tourists, when Whitby’s east side residents have access to only 83 spaces.
Coun Niall Carson added that he believed it was “a missed opportunity” and the money could have been better spent on improving the Esk Valley rail network.
The town council voted to support the application.
A final decision will be made on 12 March 2013.