Parking measures in Whitby are being fuelled by greed, claim local business owners who are tring to get a red light on all-year-round charges.
A group of traders on Whitby’s West Cliff got together to lodge a Freedom of Information request with North Yorkshire County Council demanding facts and figures relating to parking fines issued in the town, both before and after the implementation of the controversial park and ride scheme in Easter 2014.
They say they are “shocked” at the findings which appear to reveal a £62,000 increase in the amount the authority has driven in from parking tickets within a year.
In the 2013/2014 financial year £17,900 was taken with the issuing of penalty charge notices. In 2014/2015, the first full financial year following the opening, the comparitive figure was a traffic-stopping £80,485.25.
Figures to date for the current financial year (2015/16) show that aleady over £38,000 has been generated from fines.
The most ‘profitable’ streets in question are the Khyber Pass, Flowergate and St Hilda’s Terrace.
lIn 2013/14, 43 tickets issued on Khyber Pass made £1,504
lIn 2014/15 that increased to 213 tickets making £11,417 (£9,913 increase).
lIn 2013/14, 67 tickets issued on Flowergate made £1,865
lIn 2014/15 that increased to 451 tickets making £11,373 (£9,508 increase).
lIn 2013/14, 121 tickets issued on St Hilda’s Terrace made £3,286
lIn 2014/15 that increased to 660 making £16,003 (£12,717 increase).
Other streets involved in the FOI request included St Anns Staith, Pier Road, Baxtergate, Haggersgate, Back St Hilda’s terrace, Skinner Street, Silver Street, Cliff Street, Hudson Street, John Street, Crescent Avenue, Church Square, Well Close Square, Brunswick Street, West Terrace, East Terrace and Royal Crescent.
B&B owner Peter Croft told the Gazette: “We were shocked at the actual increase. Some of those figures when you look at them, they have taken more money in one year than they have in the previous four or five.
“If you expand on that, was the signage correct for it to go to that level, has it been mis-leading so they can generate that amount of money?”
The park and ride became operational at Easter last year as part of plans to ease parking congestion within the town centre, at a cost of over £3 million to build, thanks to a grant from the government’s local sustainable transport scheme.
But only £120,000 was made from fares on the park and ride following its first season and a further £180,000 on parking revenue.
The county council has said that while the grant was used to set up the scheme it will be funded long term through revenue generated from those fares and charges.
However, the park and ride scheme closes down for the winter next weekend on Sunday November 1 but parking charges on the West Cliff will remain in place despite calls for a public consultation on having the parking charges lifted over the winter months.
Mr Croft added: “I have asked how far off the council is producing the consultation document to try and get this resolved for winter. That would help the little businesses that are already suffering. It shows how a major part of revenue is being collected on shopping streets and we feel generating more money but penalising the shops and anybody who lives in zones where they are making money.”