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Dispute over parking charges in Yarm
THE fight to prevent pay and display parking in a market town has gone to the High Court.
Yarm Town Council argued at Leeds High Court in a judicial review that Stockton Borough Council should not be permitted to impose £1 an hour parking charges in the high street.
Jason Hadlow, mayor of Yarm, said parking charges could ruin trade.
Local shopkeepers and Yarm Town Council are paying about £25,000 to bring the judicial review, although if the case is lost, The Northern Echo understands it could cost about £50,000.
Catherine Rowlands, speaking for Yarm Town Council, said the borough council’s decision to introduce pay and display was unlawful.
She said that the council was bringing in the charges as a money-making exercise, but the law states that charges can only be introduced to manage traffic.
“This is effectively taxation without authorisation,”
The barrister also argued that a public consultation exercise, paid for by the borough council, was flawed, because it did not ask people if they wanted to keep free parking.
She said there had been no proper assessment made by Stockton council of the effect charges would have on business, despite shopping guru Mary Portas’ report that free parking should be re-introduced into town centres across the country.
Yarm Town Council had not been properly consulted, she added. There were estimates in court that the parking charges could bring in about half-a-million pounds to Stockton Borough Council.
Alan Evans, speaking for the borough council, said it was not true that the authority had not considered the effect charges could have on trade. In fact, the consultation exercise was partly designed to find ways of increasing spending in Yarm.
He also said there was evidence that Yarm Town Council had been consulted properly.
He said: “If the facts are properly understood, much of the claimant’s case collapses as a matter of fact, quite apart from a matter of law.”
Mr Evans will continue his argument when the judicial review reopens on September 28.