The Tour de Yorkshire takes place this weekend throughout Yorkshire. There is a festive spirit in the air as most people are looking forward to the races with large crowds expected. But beware there is a particular predatory bunch of people pacing our streets. Last night they swooped on the small market town of Bedale where the parking cones had already been laid out in good time for this evenings ban on parking. Delightedly they got to work sticking parking tickets on to all the cars still parked there. They 24 hours prior to the ban coming into force. Thinking that they were making a tidy profit on the unsuspecting residents they did not foresee the outcry it created as people reacted in horror and complained in unison to the town council that this was an unfair act and illegal.
Free parking in Yorkshire has always been one of the best things about shopping in our county (along with the great selection of independent shops) and both visitors and locals for years enjoyed this facility, that is until 2 years ago when parking fees were introduced, and a particular group of traffic wardens were employed to swoop on our market towns. Whether they are paid on commission for the number of tickets they write I don't know, but they seem to take a perverse delight in doing so with no mercy. If your car is slightly askew, you have gone to get a parking disc or pay at a meter there are incidents when they have quickly issued a ticket. We like many other businesses have been issued tickets when unloading and ask any of the shop keepers in any of the town affected they will all vouch for the fact that trade has been affected since this blight afflicted our towns as people with an eye on the clock no longer spend so long browsing and shopping.
With the demise of the high street and may businesses struggling surely it is time for our district councils to rethink this policy and reverse the policy to free parking once again.