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Residents have say on controversial development plans

[Thursday 23 February 2006]

Richmond residents will have their say tonight as the District Council meets to consider a controversial planning application for the town's Yorke Square car park.

The Council wants to sell part of the site, currently a thirty space public pay and display car park, with planning permission for fourteen homes, whilst retaining twenty-three public car parking places.

The Authority plans to use the income generated by the sale to help fund another controversial move - its proposed office relocation to Colburn.

Critics fear the Yorke Square plans will push shoppers out of Richmond
Critics fear the Yorke Square plans will push shoppers
out of Richmond

Critics of the plans, which have been on public display in the District Council's Dundas Street Community Office since the end of last year, have voiced concerns over a reduction in parking provision in the busy Yorkshire Dales market town, as well as the impact of new building in what is an historic area.

Furious local residents say the view of Culloden Tower will be ruined, and a reduction in Car Parking provision will push shoppers away.

"It is actually a grossly under-used car park", says Council Leader, Councillor Bill Glover, in responding to the critics.

"Parking revenue figures show that an average of just six parking tickets are sold per day there, so the retention of twenty-three spaces more than satisfies the need for public parking in that area.

"The style, design and size of the buildings proposed closely mirror the stable block complex which stood on the site until the late 1950's, and is totally in keeping with the current surroundings".

In a recent report, consultants acting on behalf of Richmondshire District Council stated that the Authority's current premises in Richmond were completely unfit to serve their purpose.

A study is now underway to determine the impact that relocating the Council's offices and staff to Colburn would have on the vitality and economic well-being of Richmond.

Taking a swipe at the critics of the Authority's plans, Councillor Glover added: "I sometimes wonder, if the original building was still there and the Council was proposing to demolish it for use as a car park, what the public reaction would be".

Anticipating the large public interest in the application, Environment and Planning Committee members have chosen to hold the meeting at the Zetland Centre on Victoria Road as it has a larger capacity than the Council Chamber.

The meeting gets underway at 6.30pm.

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