Parking enforcement in Craven looks set to be handled by Harrogate after councillors narrowly agreed police should concentrate on fighting crime.

Some councillors at last week’s policy meeting of Craven District Council were against plans for Harrogate Borough Council to look after both on and off-street parking enforcement in the district.

They argued that the job of making sure people did not flout parking rules was the job of police and they should continue to be responsible.

It was also suggested that a decision be deferred until after the council could get the views of the newly elected police commissioner, Julia Mulligan.

But others said they needed to be realistic and with police numbers going down, resources would be better used on more important issues.

Coun Paul English (Lib Dem) said: “We should write to the police and tell them to get on with their job. Just because this is such a small crime, they can’t say they won’t police it.”

He added problems could be caused by handing over enforcement to private contractors and reminded councillors of the problems caused in Skipton by over-zealous car clamping.

“If we have the police deciding they are not going to enforce the laws, we are on a very slippery slope, “ he said.

But Coun Carl Lis (Cons) said it was right that police were content to hand over parking enforcement.

“What are they going to do, go to a burglary or hand someone a ticket for parking illegally? Police have decided, quite rightly, that parking is a very low priority.”

But Coun Robert Heseltine (Ind) said illegal parking was a problem for many residents and greater enforcement was needed.

“There will be a service agreement with the council which will cover issues of collection and enforcement, this is absolutely the right thing for Craven to do,” he said.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently in the process of applying for Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) orders covering the whole of the county.

In Craven, operational control would be from Harrogate and each district would have its own civil enforcement officer doing the job of the old traffic wardens.

The cost of setting up and running the service will be met by the county council and in the case of off-street parking, the county council will underwrite any possible financial loss to Craven for five years.