New year, new hope for park and ride

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A BID for £4 million of funding to pay for a park and ride scheme in Whitby is going to be submitted in the New Year.

It is a joint venture between the North York Moors National Park Authority and North Yorkshire County Council.

They are asking the Department for Transport for the cash in what some councillors have called “last chance saloon” effort to try and solve Whitby’s parking crisis.

Details of the scheme being put forward is a park and ride operating on the west side of town, better connections between Whitby and the Esk Valley and an electric bike hire network in the north eastern part of the National Park.

Implications of the scheme being implemented are that charges for parking on the West Cliff and the surrounding streets would be introduced but it is likely permits would be made available to residents and businesses.

Councillors who discussed the issue at a recent meeting said they were getting more and more complaints about the lack of parking available in the town especially during the summer and if the park and ride scheme wasn’t pursued it would just get worse.

Members of the National Park Authority are due to discuss the joint bid at a committee meeting on Monday.

The county council says funding would bring significant benefits to the North York Moors improving access for visitors to ‘honey pot’ locations in the Esk Valley, including the Authority’s National Park Centre at Danby, while protecting the tranquillity of the area as well as bringing big benefits to Whitby.

If successful, the National Park Authority will spend an additional £30,000 to create and improve links between existing cycle routes, bus stops and railway stations in the North York Moors to make the new services more appealing to visitors and residents.

Coun Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said: “A successful bid will allow us to support the tourism economy in Whitby and the eastern Esk Valley area of the National Park at the same time as reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions.”

Original plans put forward last year for a park and ride scheme were shelved due to government funding cuts.

But in January as part of the Local Transport White Paper the government announced the creation of a Local Sustainable Transport Fund to assist local transport authorities to deliver two of its core transport objectives.

The other one North Yorkshire County Council is pursuing is a park and ride scheme in Harrogate.