Skipton is ‘undermined by parking piranhas’

9:00am Thursday 20th February 2014

Traffic wardens have been accused of acting like “piranhas hunting in a goldfish bowl”.

The claim comes from county and district councillor Robert Heseltine who is concerned about the “strange” enforcement of traffic regulations on Skipton High Street setts.

Over recent weeks, numerous tickets have been issued to motorists who have taken advantage of the non-appearance of traders on market days and parked on the setts.

North Yorkshire County Council – which is responsible for enforcement – says the wardens have no discretion.

But, Coun Heseltine claims the wardens turn a blind eye to traders’ vans that are parked on double yellow lines all day. “This is clear discrimination,” he added.

Now, he has called for a “full and comprehensive” review of the regulations by the council’s Craven Area Committee when it meets on March 13.

“I am proposing that on market days any market pitch which is not occupied by its tenant by 9.30am is available for free parking for the rest of the day,” said Coun Heseltine.

He said the problems were an “unwanted, unreasonable and unwarranted consequence” of the decriminalisation of parking. It had given responsibility for enforcement to the county council, which had contracted the task to Harrogate Borough Council.

“The image of our market town is being very seriously and consistently undermined and damaged by the Harrogate officers with their strange interpretation of parking on the High Street setts on market days, “It appears that market traders have a dispensation from the enforcement officers to park all day on the setts, but when any other vehicles, whose occupants are either shopping or doing business in the town, are on the setts on market days they are immediately served with a contravention ticket and fined.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Civil parking enforcement is about the enforcement of parking restrictions and it is important that this enforcement is undertaken in a consistent manner.

“The Traffic Regulation Order for Skipton Market Place prohibits all vehicles from parking in the reserved area on market days and this is signed in accordance with the appropriate legislation.

“There is no scope for local discretion in terms of civil enforcement officers deciding when and when not to enforce restrictions and in any case this would lead to confusion among motorists.

“The only exception to this is that it has been agreed with the town council, who manage the market, that on market days when there are high winds traders can park their vehicles adjacent to their stalls to protect them from the wind.”

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