Park-&-Ride: the rush to squander £5M

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Park-&-Ride: the rush to squander £5M

“Park and (get taken for a) Ride”

Latest developments, from Richard Ineson

You will recall that the NYCC Highways Department have applied to the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority, for new planning permission for the P&R car park, at a cost of £25,000, a renewal of the existing permission would have cost £500.00. The meeting of the NYMNPA planning committee, where the decision as to whether or not this development goes ahead, takes place on Thursday the 13th December at 10.00 am., in Helmsley, so, if you have an hour or two to spare . . . . .

The curious thing about this meeting is that the notices, advising the public of this planning application , and inviting objections/comments were published on the 30th November, and from that date, any interested parties had 21 days in which to comment or object.

By my reckoning, that takes us up to the 21st December, yet the meeting to decide whether or not planning permission is granted, will take place on the 13th Decemeber, whilst there are still seven clear days of the Statutory 21 day consultation period to run.

Why all the rush?

Chris France the chief Exec of NYMNPA assures me that this is all legal and that, if any objections/comments are received after the meeting, no matter what the outcome of that meeting, in relation to the P&R, then a further meeting will be convened to consider any new issues which may have arisen.

Like many other aspects of the long drawn out saga of the PARK and RIDE, it all seems very strange to me, why not wait until the Statutory, 21 day consultation period is up and then have the planning committee meeting? Something fishy here, in my opinion.

The proposed cost of this scheme has risen steadily over the years, without as much as a blade of grass being cut, it started at £1.6 million, went to £2.0 million, then £2.4 million, then £2.8 million, then £4 million, and is now suddenly, £5 million, this sum declared, at the last secret meeting of the Whitby Traffic Partnership.

A great deal of money  to provide 250 parking spaces on tarmac plus another 200 on grass – these latter spaces will probably be totally unusable after prolonged heavy rain, which is not unusual, in summer, in Whitby.

Does this figure seem to be financially viable i.e. is it value for money? £5 million pounds to provide, at best, 450 car parking spaces? Not in my view.

Then there is the £415,000 which has already been spent, the only tangible evidence of which, is the now world famous ‘Bollard which never Rises’ on St Anne’s Staithe.

Then there are the telephone lines connected to the ‘Bollard which never Rises’ which had run up a bill of around £1,200.00 when I last enquired, a few years ago – I wonder who it speaks to? I wonder what the telephone bill is now?

There will be no overnight parking on the park and ride car park, so the P&R scheme will only cater for day trippers.

The ENTIRE EAST SIDE OF WHITBY, less The Ropery, has been allocated 63 car parking spaces – these are the spaces on lower Church Street, outside The Fleece, and these will be permit only spaces, so east side residents will have to pay for a chance to park their cars here, with no guaranteed space and very little chance of a space at all.

The details of the car parking scheme were decided by three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS, the members of which were unelected, unmandated, supposedly anonymous, and unaccountable.

One entire Stakeholder Steering Group was selected by Cllr Kenyon – an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourism Association, she also selected the Chairs of the other two groups, there was at least one member of the various tourist associations on each group.

Incidentally, the membership of these groups was supposed to remain confidential. Why?

The minutes/notes of the proceedings of the meetings of these groups are only available in a redacted form and are very sketchy, in any case. Why?

Many people say that the tourist associations were over-represented on these groups.

The supposedly secret memberships of the three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS  were as follows:-

The Chair of the secret Whitby Traffic Partnership, Conservative Cllr. Jane Kenyon, (also an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourist Association) in conjunction with Conservative Cllr. Joe Plant, recommended the make up, including choosing the Chairs of the other two groups, of the three SSGs.

The individual Chairs selected the residents’ representatives (please note that the East Side SSG, Chaired by Cllr. D.Clegg) did not have a residents’ representative).

Whitby Town (Parish) Council nominated the Town Council representatives on SSGs 2&3.

Please note that Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce) and Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) were appointed to all three STAKEHOLDER STEERING GROUPS.

SSG 1. Sandsend.

Chair, Cllr. Jane Kenyon (also an Executive member of the Whitby and District Tourist Association), Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce), Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) Christine Kroebel (Chair, Lythe PC), David Pybus (Residents’ Representative).

SSG 2. West Cliff and Town Centre.

Chair, Conservative Cllr. Joe Plant, Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce) Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association) Cllr. Mike Ward (SBC and Whitby Town Council) Cllr. Dickenson (Whitby Town Council) Barry Brown/Dr.Dunn (Residents’ Representatives).

[Please note that I am informed that Barry Brown was never invited to any of the meetings of this group, neither did he receive any documents or help to make any decisions relating to this group].

SSG 3. Church Street/East Side.

Chair, Conservative Cllr. D.Clegg (Chair of Capt. Cook Tourist Association), Dalton Peake (Whitby Chamber of Commerce), Tony Charlton (Whitby Hospitality Association), Conservative Cllr. Sandra Turner (SBC), Cllr. Steve Smith/Cllr. Pitts (WTC).

[Please note that, unlike the other two groups, there was no residents’ representation on this group. The residents of the East Side of Whitby had no representative on the SSG which supposedly represented their views].

The main detrimental effect of this ill considered P&R scheme for the East Side residents, is that they will be prevented from using all of the parking which they are able at present to use, on the west side of Whitby, they will also be charged for a parking space which will not exist, on the east side.

The parking scheme under the P&R is exactly the same as the scheme, involving the consultation process, which cost over £15,000 and which was rejected by the east side residents in 2006. The staff of NYCC Highways Department are unable to explain this, other than to say that this scheme is in a ‘different context’, which I find completely baffling.

Why have a public consultation at all if you are going to take no notice of the results of the consultation?

The 110 members of the W&DTA who responded to the questionnaire sent to them by their association, said that they needed 700 car parking spaces, these are the prime parking spaces on the west side of Whitby.

These spaces will be as good as given to them and the members of the Hospitality Association, Captain Cook Tourism Association etc. for the use of their customers, which is surely why they are not complaining about the P&R car park closing at 7pm.

The failure to provide overnight parking is lunacy in itself, surely what Whitby needs is more overnight parking, we do not want to encourage even more day trippers; long-stay customers are what the hotels and B&B owners want, but of course, they will get these, as they will have all of the overnight parking right outside their premises, once the East Side residents have been denied the use of on street parking on the West Side of Whitby.

Meanwhile, in the words of Nick West, ‘someone has got to pay for the park and ride’  this means us, the residents; not bad for some areas of Whitby which will be allocated fair amounts of parking spaces, but the east side residents are getting the rawest of raw deals under this scheme – 63 spaces for over 400 buildings, including the masses of holiday cottages, the shops, the B&B premises and the hotels, bear in mind also, that the owners of commercial premises will be able to apply for multiple car parking permits.

The East Side Steering Group, unlike the other two groups, did not have a residents’ representative, the Chair of the east side steering group was Cllr Clegg a member of the Captain Cook Tourist Association and a shopkeeper.

After the Parking Management ‘public consultation’ and exhibition at the Coliseum in June, 2010, the comments received during the ‘consultation’ were suppose to be considered by the Coast and Moors Area Committee, this has never been done, and does not seem likely to go ahead now, another fine example of ‘public consultation’ window dressing, for which this area is famous.

In a ‘leaked’ email, Nick West, Area Manager for the NYCC Highways Department, said that ‘it was inappropriate for the associated Whitby and Sandsend parking proposals to be considered by the Coast and Moors Area Committee’. Why?

So who benefits?

Shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants, fish and chip shops etc.  via the P&R car park which will provide them with perhaps, another, 500 -1000 customers per day, up to 6-7pm. when the P&R car park closes.

The Hoteliers and B&B owners, who will get all of the 24-hour on street, car parking spaces currently used by the residents of the east side.

Who loses?

All of the residents of Whitby, who will have to fund this farce, but mainly, the residents of the east side, who, in addition to having to fund this barmy exercise, will have no car parking facilities.

Apart from funding the construction of the park and ride facilities, Whitby residents will also be responsible for the £270,000 which will be the annual cost to run the scheme, and then there is the ‘Hopper Service’ which is estimated to cost £90,000 per year, and there are other costs such as £280,000 which is to be spent on ‘travel awareness and promotional activities’ whatever they might be.

The streets will be even more congested by day-trippers, there will be an increased need for street cleaning, public toilet provision, and police supervision, all of which will have to be paid for by the residents (business rates go to the government). Noise, violence, delivery vehicles, congestion of the streets and general inconvenience will increase.

On this point Nick West said,

“It will be a massive change for Whitby, going from unregulated and free parking throughout the town to controlled parking zones”.

In other words, the residents of Whitby are going to pay to finance a project which will be detrimental to their interests.

Please note also, that the Scarborough Park-&-Ride scheme over ran its budget by £4.6 million, we were told at the time that, “such cost increases are not uncommon in major highway schemes of this size”.

The impact of this ill considered, and very expensive, scheme on the area of land under the control of NYMNPA to be used for the car park will be extremely detrimental, – light pollution, the destruction of prime agricultural land, uncontrolled rainwater run off, the increased use of the surrounding roads, the encouragement of further traffic into the area with the concomitant increase in noise, fumes, damage to road surfaces, increase in crime involving car break ins/car theft, the encouragement of the congregation of youths at night when the car park is closed.

Then there are the environmental issues; the carbon footprint, the air pollution, the green house gases, have these been taken into account?

  • PARK-&-RIDE schemes in seaside towns (having, at best, only a semi-circular traffic catchment-area) have a poor (and well-documented) record. Scarborough readers, in particular, may wish to add their experience-based views in the ‘Comments’ section, below this article. Please do.

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  1. Nigel Ward December 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm - Reply

    SBC’s enthusiasm for any project that gives grounds to ‘bid for funding’ is embraced whether it benefits the community or even detriments it.

    The object of the exercise (as was frankly and honestly explained to me recently) is to offer up the corporate begging bowl to any source of funding for any purpose – because the bowl has been carefully designed to leak. The well-known ‘trickle down effect’. We know very well to whom it trickles; the appointed consultants on this Park-&-Ride proposal are the thick end of £400K to the good – and never a blade of grass disturbed! No doubt they are suitably grateful.

    This latest ploy to ratify the planning consent BEFORE the conclusion of the consultation will have serious ramifications.

  2. kathleen parker December 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Crazy isn’t it? And why a planning meeting a week before they can legally do anything? And at what further cost? Its just a complete waste of money and time with no real benefit for joe public! Who are the lucky consultants of this utter farce? They’re laughing all the way to the bank.

  3. Frank Chalmers December 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Does anyone have a clue if Scarborough’s Park and Ride Scheme has made a profit yet?

    Last time I checked it was making a healthy loss.

    Quite often, you can sit out and watch the early and late buses drive by empty.

    Scarborough has two Park and Ride sites, so double the cost to us.

    However, doing a cursory count, it seems to me that the number of empty and less than half full buses far exceeds the number of full buses.

    Meaning the amount of buses making a profit is far outweighed by those making a loss.

    I’d like Nick West to tell us all just how much Scarborough’s residents have had to fork out for this hair-brained scheme that hasn’t worked yet!

    Parking in Scarborough is still atrocious, and the shops are still closing down – DESPITE claims from SBC that Park and Ride would BOOST trade in town.

    Where’s the boost in trade for the shops that have closed? Where’s the extra income? Why hasn’t the scheme paid for itself yet?

    I recently learned that there are over thirty empty shops in Scarborough now, and someone indicated recently to me it’s as high as fifty!

    Call me stupid, but that many empty shops in a town this size doesn’t sound like we’ve had a massive boost in trade because of the Park and Ride.

    But perhaps SBC would have us believe we weren’t being “dynamic” enough. Or that we weren’t providing what the public wanted, or that we were simply scaring them off.

    I say that something stinks, and it isn’t my breeches!

    Come on Mr Fox, you’re the Council Leader – what’s going on?

  4. DKP December 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    It would have been helpful to include the email address in the article. Here it is. It took some finding;

  5. Richard Ineson December 12, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    DKP, please accept my apologies for this oversight, if you would like to comment on/object to, the spending of £5 million of your money on this ill thought out project, here is the man you need to contact at NYMNPA before the planning meeting on Thursday, if possible but we have until the 21st December, according to Mr.Jones.

    Peter Jones

  6. Richard Ineson December 12, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Peter Jones

  7. Nigel Ward December 12, 2012 at 11:59 am - Reply

    It seems to me, Richard, that this process is, from a legal perspective, fatally flawed. I believe that the explanation behind this frantic rush to complete the paperwork is that the P&R’s prime mover is desperate to shore up some kind of a ‘legacy’ – before retiring to spend more time with family and dumb animals.

    You may remember that you and I were told that ‘it may never happen’- straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, though that was later denied by a ‘frank and honest’ source. I think that this latest manoeuvre is a mark of desperation.

  8. Richard Ineson December 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    We have been standing for the ‘egg under the hat’ trick with all manner of people for many years, from the ‘tarmac your drive, we’ve got some left over from another job’ scam to the collapse of the banking system, caused by the ‘wealth creators’ so beloved of Thatcher and her mob. High salaries (remember, the number of people earning more than £50,000 per annum at SBC, doubled in ten years) have been part of this headlong rush to rip off the people who really provide the underlying wealth of the country, those who do real work, regularly, and pay taxes. The justification for paying these colossal salaries to these, in the main, mediocrities is that ‘ we have to pay these kind of slaries to attract the right level of person to tackle the job”. and we all know what happened at NYPA when we funded various top police officers, to the tune of many thousands of punds, to, as Jeremy Holderness (himself highly paid as Chief Exec at NYPA) said, ‘keep them at the top of their game’ what kind of game was that then Jeremy? Rob the poor and give to the rich? As to the ‘consultant scam’ I have known one or two of these con men personally, they are, without exception, talentless, unskilled (except in the art of taking in the gullible), without any moral scruple and contribute nothing to society. One of them explained his role in life to me, as he saw it, “An organisation wants to know what time it is, they have watches and clocks and access to the radio, but they do not have anyone who can, or is willing to, make a decision, so they get me in, as a consultant. They hand me the watch/clock and say what time is it? I look at the clock and tell them the time, they believe me because they have no faith in themselves as decision makers”. and that sums it up. As regards local government, it does not take brilliant people to run any council, we just need honest, solid, reliable people who have got their feet on the ground, people who can, amongst other things, control the excesses of Councillors who have a party political agenda to fulfill, or who are just simply, mad. By the way, I shall be submitting a bill for this advice, does £20,000 sound about right? Plus VAT of course, and expenses.
    2 hours ago · Edited · Like

  9. Richard Ineson December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    Peter Jones has just sent me this reply to my enquiries about the planning process, at NYMNPA in relation to the P&RDear Mr Ineson

    Thank you for your comments on this application and I do appreciate that your main issues are about parking on the East side of Whitby. I have set out below the answers to your questions and will report the main points of your representation to Planning Committee.

    On what date did NYMNPA receive the planning application from NYCC?

    09 November 2012

    On what date were the statutory notices advising the public of the planning application placed in the newspapers/other publications/public places etc.?

    30 November 2012

    Can you tell me what period of time is allowed by law, after these notices are advertised, for the public to object or make comments on/object to the planning application?

    21 Days

    When did this period of time commence and when does it finish?

    Advertisement Date 30 November 2012. Advert Expires 21 December 2012.

    Can you tell me where or in what newspapers/other publications/public places, these notices were placed please?

    Neighbours who have land conterminous with the site were notified by letter. Site notices were posted in four locations immediately around the site. The public notice was published in the Whitby Gazette.

    Can you give me the details of the legislation whereby the NYMNPA are allowed to make a decision on a planning application, before the statutory consultation period, which I understand to be 21 days, has elapsed?

    Effectively the Planning Committee will be recommended to delegate the decision to the Director of Planning on the basis that the decision is not issued until after the advertisement has expired. These powers effectively fall within the National Park Authority scheme of delegation. Should any further representations be received which raise new issues which have not been reported to Planning Committee the decision would have to be reviewed by the Planning Committee.

    I hope that this clarifies the position with regard to this application. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate in contacting me.

    Yours sincerely

    Peter Jones

    Team Leader Planning (North)


  10. Nigel Ward December 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    In plain language:

    “We will draw upon any clause of any document that will provide grounds, however spurious, to promulgate our Officer-driven agenda, whether it conforms to the will of the electorate or not. It’s the funding-grab that matters”.

    A further example of the sleight-of-hand so clearly exposed by Nick Henderson in his article:

    As Bob Dylan puts it, “something is happening, but you don’t know what it is . . . do you, Mr Jones?”

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