A ROW has erupted over coach parking in Tadcaster after council officers failed to honour a promise to remove barriers at the Britannia car park for York race week.

Coun Jean Ashton contacted the Evening Press to express her anger that a special protocol to lift the barriers to enable coach parking on race days was not honoured during last week's three-day meet at the Knavesmire.

The provision was agreed by Selby district councillors in August 2002 to ensure that alterations to the newly-refurbished car park would not affect race trade.

Tadcaster has long been a traditional pre- and post-races venue for coaches of racegoers who spend money on drinks and meals in the town's many pubs.

While three coach bays are available at the car park normally, Coun Ashton says these can only be realistically be used by two vehicles - and on race days there are many more.

Coun Brian Percival, who runs a business based in Tadcaster, said that coaches had to park "all over the place" following the blunder.

"My concern as chair of the economy board is that the races are an essential element of the Tadcaster economy and we must ensure that provision is maintained," he said.

"The town centre economy is very fragile and to have forgotten the race traffic for whatever reason is not acceptable and not the standards that this new administration expects."

Officers for Selby District Council said the request for the barriers to be lifted had come as a surprise to them and they hoped the issue would be resolved before the next race day, which is in June.

The mix-up will be discussed at a meeting of the council's social board tonight.

Updated: 10:28 Tuesday, May 20, 2003