Whether you are a resident, tourist, business owner or accommodation provider major changes to parking in Whitby and Sandsend unveiled last week will affect everyone.
The principle of the new parking controls, which are set to cost £447,000 to implement, has already been agreed by the county council.
But on September 19 the council’s Coast and Moors County Area Committee will consider any objections to them at a crunch meeting.
Already the changes have provoked a strong reaction from locals and visitors as they will effectively end free on-street parking in most of the town.
They are being brought in alongside the £2.8m 450 space park and ride scheme which has already been given the green light, with work set to start once the summer season is over.
The park and ride will run from March 1 to October 31.
The parking plans were first discussed back in 2010 when 10,000 letters were sent out to residents and businesses .
Seventy five per cent of respondents supported the residents’ priority parking zones and 56% of people supported the on-street pay and display proposals for the North Promenade area and Sandsend.
Highways area manager for Whitby, Nick West, who himself lives in Whitby, said of the plans: “It’s a radical change but what we are trying to do is make the Whitby environment better for all concerned.
“We don’t want visitors coming into Whitby and going round and round looking for spaces. We want to encourage them to use the park and ride and free up the town centre effectively.”
From April 2014, it is proposed drivers in Whitby must either have a resident’s permit, a business permit which they will have to pay for, or holiday accommodation scratchcards to park in the streets closest to the town centre, all year round.
The town centre has been divided into 11 residents priority parking zones while North Promenade, North Terrace and East Terrace in Whitby and part of the seafront in Sandsend will all become on-street pay and display parking charges, which will apply between March 1 and October 31.
Three parking civil enforcement officers will be brought into to patrol Whitby as part of the scheme ,although Mr West said there will be a “period of tolerance” while things are settling in.
Most people will be restricted to parking in the zone where they live or where their business is based with one permit allocated for each business at a cost of £77, with others available if an operational need can be shown.
Visitors and commuters will be able to park in these areas too for up to three hours, depending on the zone, by displaying a parking disc, which will be available free of charge from shops.
But for residents living in almost all of the zones, they will mostly be unable to park in neighbouring zones, something which many residents fear will cause problems as they compete with visitors for spaces.
Laura Clements (45) from Whitby is fighting cancer and is registered disabled. She runs The Archers Gues House with husband David in Havelock Place and despite being eligible for a free parking permit, she has many misgivings about the plans.
“At the end of the day, if you are a Whitby resident you should be able to park anywhere in Whitby,” she said. We will fill Hudson Street up with cars from visitors to just three guesthouses. Before our guests could park anywhere and walk to the guesthouse, now they can only park in Zone D under the scheme.”
Graham Collinson who runs Discovery Accommodation is also concerned as, like all accomodation providers, he will have to purchase scratchcards to give to holidaymakers which at first will cost him 50p each.
“It’s going to hit us hard,” he said. “A lot of B&Bs have been struggling, it’s been a difficult year. If you are a reasonable sized business, doing 1,000 bookings a year, you are talking £500 for scratchcards.Why are they using hotels or accommodation providers as tax collectors?”
Chairman of Whitby and District Tourism Association Harry Collett said: “I think it may drive tourism away. I have great misgivings about it all. Petrol costs are already very high, it may deter people from coming.”
Businesses in Sandsend are also concerned about the introduction of pay and display on the seafront. Neil Hodgson, who has run Sandside Cafe in the village for 13 years,said: “We think Sandsend is being penalised to support the park and ride. There are a lot of pensioners that come in here, it’s all added expense, they are just not going to come. We are very sad.”
Commuters will also be affected as those unable to use the seasonal park and ride, will have to park on Chubb Hill, Lower Esk Terrace and Stakesby Road, which are not in the zones. Mr West added: “We will have to look at it if there is a significant migration of vehicles on adjoining streets. We are not trying to implement anything that we haven’t got support for.”