Traders are backing a call to change parking rules on Skipton High Street setts on market days.

They support demands for a “full and comprehensive” review of the regulations which would allow parking if traders failed to take up their pitches by 9.30am on Saturdays, Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Coun Robert Heseltine, who wants to see the changes, has proposed the idea is debated by the Craven Area Committee when it meets on Thursday, March 13.

He has likened the behaviour of traffic wardens to “piranhas hunting in a goldfish bowl.”

Skipton Town Council’s chief officer, Dave Parker, said the council’s market officer and town-centre ambassadors did what they could to warn motorists of the potential penalty if they parked on market days but it was impossible to speak to every driver.

He said: “It’s a frustrating situation. The problem occurs on days when there is a reduced market. Recently this has often been as a result of very bad weather.

“The current traffic regulations still apply on market days, regardless of whether any stalls are present,” he said.

Sophie Tyas, who has run her shop Sophie’s Handbags and Accessories in Mount Pleasant for seven years, said: “I took a straw poll of customers to get their reaction and they said it reflected badly on Skipton and did not help to encourage people to shop in the town. It seems a silly and illogical rule.

“I had one customer come in absolutely fuming after being ticketed and said she would go elsewhere in future.”

What made it even worse was that the revenue from the parking fines went to Harrogate, she added. George Bellas, of the Small Business Federation, who runs a stationery and office products firm in Skipton, said: “The federation is disappointed that High Street users are being discouraged from making use of available and unused parking spaces.

“We would be interested to further understand the economic logic of this activity and the decision to put a neighbouring council in charge of discouraging High Street users on windy wet winter days when local shops need this business most.”