Electric vehicles charging points in Knaresborough car park causing ‘significant harm’
Last updated Sep 14, 2023
Kelly and Steve Teggin launch their petition.

A Knaresborough business owner has claimed 10 electric vehicle charging points installed in a car park have caused “significant harm” to the town and are driving shoppers away.

A petition signed by over 500 people protesting against how EV infrastructure has been introduced in Knaresborough was debated by North Yorkshire Council‘s Harrogate and Knaresborough area constituency committee in Harrogate today.

Ten of the 56 regular parking bays in the town centre Chapel Street car park were turned into electric vehicle-only spaces with charge points at the end of 2022 by Harrogate Borough Council.

A further 12 spaces were given over to EVs in Conyngham Hall’s car park on the outskirts of the town centre but the charge points there have not yet been switched on.

However, at Chapel Street there have been reports of the spaces reserved for EVs laying empty, which has caused consternation to traders particularly on market days.

A statement was read out to councillors on behalf of hairdresser Kelly Teggin who launched the petition. The statement said:

“Like any market town there’s a recognition of the need for transition and charging points are attractive to residents and tourists if introduced at the right time and place.

“However, in this case, implementation of changing points at Chapel Street car park and at Conyngham Hall have been badly-handled in terms of consultation and choices made. They’ve caused significant negative impact on traders in the town centre, attractiveness to visitors and increased congestion.”

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A report prepared by officers ahead of the meeting said just five vehicles a day were using the charging spaces at Chapel Street.

But the council forecasts that after five years this will have increased to 22 cars a day and by year eight it will be 30 cars.

Electric vehicle EV Chapel Street car park parking

Electric vehicle charging bays in Chapel Street car park.

Dedicated EV bays require traffic regulation orders to restrict access to EVs only, which according to reports the spaces at Chapel Street do not have.

Matt Walker, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Knaresborough West who supports the petition, said any non-EV motorist who had received a ticket for parking in the reserved spaces should contact him as he would be “happy to defend and get those revoked”.

Arnold Warneken, the Green Party councillor for Ouseburn and an EV driver,  said he was “shocked and surprised” the council decided to put the spaces in Chapel Street, which is one of the town’s busiest car parks.

But he warned against an increasingly hostile movement against EVs on social media. He added:

“I’m totally behind having EV charging points. There’s an anxiety that infrastructure is not in place for people that drive EVs but there’s a movement out there that’s anti-EV”.

Paul Haslam, the Conservative councillor for Bilton and Nidd Gorge, said there was a “lack of understanding” about EVs but he hoped North Yorkshire Council used the changes in Knaresborough as a “learning opportunity on how we can do it better next time”.

Cllr Walker proposed a motion with nine different points, including a call for a full review into parking in Knaresborough and an assertion that the EV infrastructure had been implemented poorly in the town. It passed by six votes to four.

The area constituency committee is, however, only an advisory body to the Conservative-controlled council.