Calderdale Council’s Economy and Environmental Scrutiny Panel has referred the controversial issue of evening parking charges on Halifax town centre back to full council.
The panel held a debate on the subject at Halifax Town Hall last night before voting for it to be referred back for further discussion.
Councillor Scott Benton, Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel Chair and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “We have consistently opposed the policy of additional evening parking charges in Halifax ever since this was first proposed in 2012.
“We have argued they would damage the local economy since they were introduced and the effect has been considerable.
“A trader in Ripponden has had to move into the flat above her shop because her takins have decreased so much she is no longer able to afford to run her shop and her home.
“I note the proposal to freeze parking charges but to present a choice between freezing charges and introducing evening charges is fartoo simplistic and is a completely false choice.
“Had the council approached the other groups on this issue I am sure we could and would have worked together towards a range of measures that would have commanded widespread support.”
Councillor Barry Collins, Cabinet Member for the Economy and Environment and Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, said: “The effect of business rates and rents by private landlords is far more damaging than any of the changes we have proposed on parking.
“In response to concerns we have withdrawn charges on half the proposed areas. I can’t think of a better response to a consultation programme than that.
“Overall the scheme has been extremely successful. Ever since it was brought in the amount of usage in central Halifax has progressively increased.
“There is no effect on the economy and I defy anybody to bring any proof that there is.
“Why is it that it is wrong for the council to charge for parking but it is not for the private sector?
“We have had less than 10 complaints about the evening charges in Halifax.
“We will stick to our promise to keep an eye on this over the next few months and respond where we can.
“The extra income (from parking charges) is way above what we expected and because of this we were then able to recalculate the budget figures for parking and our calculation was that we could freeze parking charges for another two years.
“The idea it is completely wrong not to implement 100 per cent of a budget proposal is silly - it happens over and over again.
“This is sensible budgeting.”