Plans for an automatic parking barrier on a 300-year-old Grade I listed community building have raised serious concerns.
Councilors oppose plans to install the new barrier at Bedale Hall, fearing it will be incompatible with the environment and cause problems for residents.
Members were told that the aim was to ensure that tenants with businesses in the concourse could park there, as it was the money collected from the rents paid by them that funded the ongoing running costs. £30,000 per year.
The hall is a community building managed by a management committee and houses the city’s library, museum and tourist information centre.
Councilor Mike Barningham said currently the car park is used by anyone in the park, including dog walkers, so office tenants often cannot get a parking space.
He told advisers: ‘The idea is that in the morning the barrier will be lowered for use by tenants, but in the afternoon it will be up. It’s a method of trying to control who parks there.
But Councilor Amanda Coates said: ‘Parking is available but not guaranteed, I disagree with the barrier because you are creating a ‘them and us’ situation, you are stopping everyone from coming to the parking to use the lobby. It’s a community building and I agree it couldn’t be maintained without the tenants, in my opinion I’m sure all NHS staff would love to have a parking space, but they have to pay.
Councilor Pam Hallett said: ‘I don’t see why people in offices here should be treated any differently than the rest of the shopkeepers in town. It looks like Bedale Hall is trying to make it exclusive to its people. I would prefer the status quo to continue.
Councilors have been informed that there is already a barrier in the room which is not being used. The planning application would be to install a new automatic barrier further down the entrance road into the building.
Cllr Barningham added: “The hall survives thanks to the tenants. It costs around £30,000 a year to look after the hall and tenants expect to be able to park. This parking lot is there for the benefit of the tenants and not the residents. We tried to avoid doing anything but it gets worse and that’s because people are using the parking spaces. This is the venue’s parking space and the venue has tenants and they should be able to park there.”
Cllr John Howe said the design and location of the barrier was not appropriate for a Grade I listed building. Councilors agreed to oppose the scheme.