Councillors and officials have pledged to put their heads together to sort out the parking chaos in Skipton High Street.

Councillors have demanded more clarity over the way the setts are policed by traffic wardens, who have been described as acting like “piranhas hunting in a goldfish bowl.”

Confused motorists were ticketed for parking in High Street earlier this winter, when market stalls were not put up because of high winds and bad weather.

Under a traffic regulation order, parking is only allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the setts exclusively for use by market traders on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Unlimited parking is allowed on a Sunday.

Coun Robert Heseltine, who is leading the battle for new rules, wants parking to be allowed after 9.30am on market days if stallholders have failed to set up.

“We need a review of the traffic regulation order relating to the High Street,” he told the Craven Area Committee on Thursday.

“This is an issue which should never have arisen and needs correcting immediately.”

The committee had earlier heard from member of the public Mark Christiansen, who handed out photographs to illustrate his argument.

On one particular Monday only half the setts were occupied by market stalls, yet people parking in the vacant areas were ticketed, he said.

He said: “It’s economic madness. These things turn people away and it’s suicide for a town like Skipton, which relies on trade.

“I spoke to one couple who had come specifically to Skipton to enjoy a meal and to buy some jewellery at £1,700.

“But when they saw the traffic warden ticketing cars they turned and left.”

Coun Patrick Mulligan said he was particular unhappy with the way traders seemed exempt from the traffic order and often left vehicles next to their stalls all day without getting a ticket.

Coun John Kerwin-Davey said: “One of the main problems is lack of parking in the High Street. It is silliness not to allow parking on the setts when stalls are not there.

“It’s economically unsustainable and a suitable programme needs to be established as soon as possible.”