TWO free short-term parking spaces have been reserved for the use of voters at the Three Links Polling Station for the Skipton West by-elections on July 2.

The parking spaces will be provided following concerns from voters about the difficulties of parking near the polling station. The coned-off spaces will be monitored by Skipton town centre ambassadors and will enable voters to park close to the polling station for a short period whilst they cast their vote.

Returning officer Annette Moppett said: “We are aware that it can sometimes be difficult parking near the Three Links Club. Thanks to the assistance of Skipton Town Council and their town centre ambassadors we have set aside two reserved spaces outside the club for the sole use of voters which we hope will ease problems.”

In a letter last week Craven Herald columnist John Sheard wrote of "widespread anger" in the Gargrave Road area of Skipton because of difficulties he said were experienced by elderly voters in reaching the Three Links station, next to the Town Hall Car Park, for the recent council and European elections.

In a letter in this week's Craven Herald, Skipton town councillor and deputy chairman of Skipton & Ripon Conservative Association John Dawson backed Mr Sheard's comments and said he had raised concerns with Craven District Council about the arrangements for the July 2 polls.

By-elections are being held that day for the North Yorkshire County Council's Skipton West division, Craven District Council's Skipton West ward and Skipton Town Council's West ward, following the death of Coun Polly English in April.

Ms Moppett said electors who might have difficulty getting to a polling station could apply for a postal vote up to Tuesday, June 17.

She said: “Any voter is entitled to a postal vote and you don’t have to give a reason. Postal votes are a convenient way of casting your vote. Postal vote application forms can be downloaded from the council website or posted to you by phoning 01756 706241.”

The timing of the by-elections has taken into account the Grand Depart of the Tour de France.

Because of the levels of traffic and visitors expected in Craven over the first weekend of July, the by-election will be held on a Wednesday, instead of a traditional Thursday.

"Skipton is likely to be extremely busy in the days leading up to the Tour de France weekend, particularly on the Thursday and Friday," said Ms Moppett.

"Holding the by-election on the Wednesday will hopefully help electors avoid any problems in getting to the polling stations and assist in the smooth running of the election."

Elections will also take place for Horton-in-Ribblesdale Parish Council and Ribblebanks Parish Council on July 2.

The deadline tor nominations is today and the deadline for registration is June 16.