THIS was the scene after York’s latest and emptiest Pay & Display car park opened - rows and rows of vacant spaces.

Only two motorists had paid £4 each to park at lunchtime on Tuesday at the 500-space Moor Lane car park, formerly the Askham Bar Park & Ride site with free parking.

City of York Council said it was currently exploring options on what to do with the car park, following the recent opening of the larger Park & Ride service on the other side of the Tesco store.

Head of transport Tony Clarke said that in the medium to long-term, it was anticipated the land would be sold and redeveloped.

“But in the interim the council will benefit from some additional income from the temporary pay and display, which will also help cover the business rates for the car park and access to the nursery in the area, which must be maintained.”

A council spokeswoman said it was encouraging drivers to use the new Park&Ride site, which removed traffic from a section of Tadcaster Road near York College, because the majority of users at peak times came from the A64 direction.

One motorist, Walter Bullen, from Harrogate, drove in to the new Pay & Display car park on Tuesday lunchtime to find out how much was being charged - and then drove straight out again to use the free Park & Ride site after finding there was a flat £4 fee to park for 24 hours.

He branded the charge “atrocious”, asking: “Why would anyone pay £4 when they can park for free at the Park & Ride site?”

Cllr Chris Steward claimed the charges were “absolutely ridiculous,” and said that when people were told about them at a meeting in Copmanthorpe recently, the news was greeted with “riots of laughter.” He said: “This just shows a total lack of planning. The council has known for years that the old Park & Ride car park would be closing but it still doesn’t have a plan for it. And yet again, we have a brownfield site that could be used for badly-needed housing instead of using Green Belt land.”