“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.
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.