Parking in Ryedale’s tourist hotspots set for overhaul

Public parking in one of North Yorkshire’s most popular tourist areas is likely to be overhauled to tackle the problem of congestion, councillors have decided.
Malton's Wentworth Street car parkMalton's Wentworth Street car park
Malton's Wentworth Street car park

Demand for spaces in the Ryedale market towns of Kirkbymoorside, Helmsley, Malton, Norton and Pickering is said to have grown exponentially over the last few years, but the car parks themselves have remained largely unchanged for decades.

The District Council said it was now exploring ways of bringing them up to date, with the possibility of online booking and evening charging in some areas.

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In Helmsley, overnight bays for motor homes and camper vans are being mooted at the Cleveland Way park, along with 20-minute free parking spots and a redesigned Market Place.

Business leaders there have also suggested coach parking in the town centre.

Ryedale Council’s deputy leader, Steve Arnold, who represents the town, told The Yorkshire Post: “I’ve lived here for 32 years and when I arrived there were no cars at all on Sundays because nothing was open. Now, people drive out for an ice cream and a walk, or at least they do in normal circumstances, and yet we’re still using the same car parks.

“But it’s tourists who keep these places alive, so we’re going to have to make the experience more pleasant for them.”

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Latest figures suggest that the Ryedale district welcomes around 4.5m visitors annually, supporting nearly 7,000 jobs and injecting some £213m into the economy.

The district’s attractions include the Flamingo Land theme park, which alone attracts 1.6m visitors, many of whom spill over into nearby Malton.

But Coun Arnold said: “That popularity has brought with it problems of congestion, on street parking and pedestrian issues.”

He said the council was considering rerouting some of the traffic to less well-used car parks and improving information signs.

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Businesses in Malton have raised concerns about the early closing of the Wentworth Street car park and its impact on trading, prompting council officials to investigate an extension of its hours.

Coun Arnold also confirmed that payment in advance using a smartphone app was another option under consideration.

A working party is also debating the future running of Kirkbymoorside’s Town Farm park and the possibility of county council parking leases, as well as the re-routing of buses away from the town’s West End and leased parking for local businesses.

A consultation on free motorhome parking in Helmsley’s Cleveland Way overflow car park was launched earlier this year by the town and county councils and the North York Moors National Park, with the results awaited.

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