Harrogate bus companies slapped with eight tickets in a week for Stray parking

A bus snapped at the Stray.
A bus snapped at the Stray.
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A Harrogate-based bus company was ticketed at least eight times in a week after being targeted for parking on a busy highway at the Stray.

Connexions Buses, one of North Yorkshire's largest public transport providers, was the main company hit in a crackdown in January after parking on the Stray at York Place and Knaresborough Road.

North Yorkshire County Council's Don Mackenzie, the executive member for highways, said ticketing was aimed at stopping bus companies from inconveniencing other drivers on the busy stretch of road.

"It's a very busy road towards the town centre, it's a ridiculous place to park," he said.

"I hope the message is clear: do not park double-decker buses on an important town centre access road obstructing other road users."

Connexions boss Craig Temple said the breakdown in other parking arrangements and an obligation to maintain cover for school services saw them attempt to find a suitable holding space in central Harrogate.

"As a local bus service operator, we have an obligation to have sufficient resources to cover our services , should anything go wrong (such as) a breakdown, (or) a vehicle held up in accident or roadworks," he said.

"To maintain this, we have to have at least one bus parked within easy reach of Harrogate Bus Station because we are based in Tockwith, which is at least 30 minutes away."

Mr Temple said to his knowledge they hadn't broken the rules.

"Where we have been parking hasn't got double yellows or any sort of parking restriction," he said.

"Additionally on a Saturday, cars park the full length of this space for the park run and football, but no one comments about this causing an obstruction."

He added he was "not sure where we go from here" and emphasised the company was just attempting to provide a service to North Yorkshire residents.

He said discussions were under way to find a suitable alternate location.

Coun Mackenzie said he empathised with the bus companies' positions but that parking on the highway was not the action to take.

"Neither police or I want to issue tickets, but this is the only course of action we have to let bus operators know they are parking illegally on highway," he said.

"But parking in such an irresponsible manner is not the way to go."

Coun Mackenzie said the issue started in November and confirmed that eight tickets were issued in a one week period in January by North Yorkshire Police.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police confirmed that a traffic offence report had been received regarding the case.

“A notice of intended prosecution has been issued by an officer in relation to an alleged obstruction offence. The case is currently ongoing," the spokesperson said.

“Anyone who has been notified of a road traffic offence can find out more, including how to appeal it, on our website or telephone our Traffic Bureau on 01904 618 968.”

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service