Council to spend £28,000 on creation of Harrogate car sharing club

Harrogate Borough Council will chip in up to £28,000 to help establish a car sharing club in the district.

Harrogate's town centre could be one of the beneficiaries of a car sharing club. Picture: Google

Cabinet member for sustainable transport Coun Phil Ireland signed off on the move, saying it would aid in the quest to ease congestion and air pollution concerns around the authority.

Cars clubs are a model of car rental where people can hire a car from a pool of publicly-available vehicles for as long as required or for as little as half an hour.

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Bookings can be made online, over the phone or through an app, with the car kept in a central location and unlockable with a code or a card.

Members of the public can add their own car to the pool, with Coun Ireland telling the Local Democracy Reporting service that Harrogate residents would be encouraged to contribute their own vehicles to the scheme.

Linked with trains from London, Coun Ireland said he foresaw the club becoming an important part of the region's "high visitor economy".

The ward member for Knaresborough, Aspin and Calcutt said the club would offer people the chance to come to Harrogate by train and still have convenient access to a car to explore.

According to a report on the proposal, £20,000 will be budgeted to "de-risk" the start up and aid in the provision of vehicles for the scheme, while £8,000 will be allocated for marketing and the potential creation of permanent parking spaces.

Coun Ireland said not all of the allocated money would necessarily be spent if putting the project into practice turned out cheaper than expected.

He said that council's contribution to the scheme came in the context that it was "quite common for local authorities to help with set up costs of a long-term prospect with mutual benefit".

He added that it was a "low-risk project for council" and was the latest step in sustainable transport options to address congestion and pollution.

According to the council's report, one car club car is estimated to take up to 10 cars off the road.

Initial locations for the club include Harrogate's Station Gateway, Hornbeam Park station car park, Knaresborough High Street and Ripon City Centre.

The council hope to have a operator for the club locked in by March, with a launch date targeted for June 2019.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service