Fines could be introduced at Pontefract Park to stop students parking

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Wakefield Council is considering introducing parking fines at Pontefract Park.

A meeting heard students from neighbouring Pontefract New College using the facility’s car park is having a “detrimental impact” for park users.

A report says the issue also affects people attending Pontefract races and the Aspire@ThePark leisure centre.

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A report to the council’s licensing committee members, who act as park trustees, says: “There are currently concerns that student parking in the park is having a detrimental impact upon site users and our tenants, including Pontefract Race Company.”

Parking fine could be introduced at Pontefract Park to deter students from nearby Pontefract New CollegeParking fine could be introduced at Pontefract Park to deter students from nearby Pontefract New College
Parking fine could be introduced at Pontefract Park to deter students from nearby Pontefract New College

The report adds: “It has been identified that a number of traffic controls need to be considered to ensure there is space available for users of the site.”

Tim Johnson, the council’s green space and countryside manager, gave an update on the proposals to the committee.

He said: “There has been an allegation that (students) are parking cars on trust land.

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“We have engaged the corporate landlord to do some surveys to identify whether they are encroaching on trust land.

Pontefract New CollegePontefract New College
Pontefract New College

“If they have, we will be taking action to push them back so there is no long-term incursion onto trust land.”

Mr Johnson said officers are considering introducing a parking spaces order which could see people fined for parking outside a designated area.

Other options include introducing maximum stay times of up to three hours.

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The officer told the meeting: “The idea is that we do not want to charge, because charging is not something that will be very popular for anybody.

“We have to bear in mind the park users, the sports centre, the people working in the park.

“We are not looking at having it on a weekend.

“At the moment we are looking at what the cost implications are and what the enforcement will be.

“We are not wanting to stop people parking at the park.

“We want people to come and use the park. That is what the park is there for.

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“But that usage has been pushed aside by students going to the college.”

There has been long-running tension between the council and the college over parking issues.

More than 2,000 students attend the college daily during the academic year.

From the 1980s students parked on park land adjacent to the college.

This was stopped by the council in 2012.

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A temporary licence was then granted in 2016 allowing coaches to enter the park to drop off and collect students.

Committee member Tony Hames said: “I do think that the contribution that New College is making to the economy of Pontefract needs to be recognised.

“I would prefer if we could in some way appear to be friends of New College.

“What you have got to bear in mind is that there are 2,700 students attending that college.

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“The college really needs assistance. It’s a success story for Pontefract.

“They need to look upon us as neighbours, as friends of New College.”

Mr Johnson said: “At the end of the day, they are a large college. They are a successful college and they are valued.

“But they have an impact on the neighbouring land that the trust is responsible for, for the people of Pontefract, for recreation purposes.

“We have to be careful how we deal with that.”

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Describing the problems, Mr Johnson said: “A temporary licence was put in place which allowed student cars at the side of the college.

“They bring the coaches into the entrance to the park, which is not overly helpful.

“The licence insisted that they only park down one side – that’s seven coaches.

“But they are parking 14 coaches down there on both sides of the road.

“They have been doing that on race days, which affects access.

“They have been blocking access to the houses down there.

“Once they park up, the residents can’t get in freely.”