Conservative mayoral candidate pledges free parking in every town and city

The Conservative candidate for the York and North Yorkshire mayoral election has pledged to introduce free parking in every town and city in the region.

Keane Duncan, who is currently a councillor on North Yorkshire Council, has said he would fund up to two hours of free parking in a “much-needed boost for retail and hospitality” under a one-year pilot.

The pledge would be paid for using new mayoral funding and would be introduced in council-owned car parks in York, Scarborough, Skipton, Harrogate, Pickering and Selby.

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Free parking would also be expanded by up to two hours where some free parking is already available in areas including Northallerton, Thirsk and Knaresborough.

Keane DuncanKeane Duncan
Keane Duncan

Mr Duncan said: “The future of our town and city centres depends on the success of our local businesses, but it’s tough right now.

“So to give a much-needed boost to retail and hospitality, I will offer funding for free car parking in every town and city.

“Of course, every location works differently, so I’ll work with local businesses to agree on a tailored offer for each area, with up to two hours free.

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“This would be targeted to get maximum business benefit, for example in particular car parks, or at certain times of day when footfall is lowest.

“This is a major investment in the vitality of our town and city centres, and it will become a reality if I am elected mayor in May.”

Mr Duncan said he would compensate North Yorkshire Council and the City of York Council for lost car parking income.

David Skaith, Labour’s candidate, said: “This would cost a fortune quite frankly and there are much better and sustainable ways of helping our high streets which I would work to implement as mayor.

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“As a retailer for 15 years, someone who has owned a shop in York for nine years, as well as being Chair of York High Street Forum and previously on the board at IndieYork, I know it takes a much broader approach to supporting our high streets.

“For instance, the improvement of amenities such as public toilets at car parks and in our towns, an increase in seating and space for people, creating places for children to play and interact, putting on events such as the ‘Ice Trail’ in York, food markets and festivals that really help to engage with locals and encourages people to visit the high street.

“We should also be supporting our independent businesses by offering support and guidance, promoting them to the public and helping new businesses to come to our region, which they want to do.

“But most importantly, providing alternatives to the car such as improved bus services and Park & Ride, better coach access and improved cycling infrastructure as well as secure bike storage.”

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The election for mayor of the new York and North Yorkshire combined authority will take place on May 2, with other candidates standing for the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, as well as an independent.

The new mayor would have new powers over transport, housing and skills, as well taking on the role as police, fire and crime commissioner.

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