Hebden Bridge business owners warn the town could suffer unless action is taken on lack of parking spaces

Business owners in Hebden Bridge say more car parking spaces are vital to the town's economy.
Business owners in Hebden Bridge want changes over parking provisionBusiness owners in Hebden Bridge want changes over parking provision
Business owners in Hebden Bridge want changes over parking provision

A petition calling on Calderdale Council to create more parking in the town has received support from shop owners, who say there simply aren't enough spaces and that the future of their businesses will be put at risk unless action is taken.

Scott Borrows, who owns Totally Screwed hardware, which has shops in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, started the petition.

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"As a resident and shopkeeper I feel quite let down by the local council and other groups that are supposed to be a voice for residents and businesses alike," said Scott, whose wife also owns a shop in Hebden Bridge.

Car parking, Hebden BridgeCar parking, Hebden Bridge
Car parking, Hebden Bridge

"I believe that once the flood works commence, alongside a real shortage of parking, the town could suffer severely.

"I think measures need putting in place before the problem worsens, not during or after.”

Trish Banyard, who owns the Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre, said: "Parking spaces should be doubled. They have been slowly eroded over the years.

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"I would like to see the markets moved to the marina and off Lees Yard car park. It is rarely available for actual parking and should not be counted toward the number of parking spaces in this town.

"I would like to see free edge of town parking for business and shop owners, workers, staff etc, encouraging them not to fill up town centre paid spaces.

"I would like Holme Street to be a car park with access. It is a dead end road with the post office, school, Trades Club and theatre so will require access, however it could be blocked near the traffic lights and allow an extra town car park."

Aamir Yusuf, from the Totally Awesome shop on Market Street, said: "I totally agree with the petition.

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"We as shop owners often park 10 or 15 minutes walk away and customers frequently complain.

"What's more is that the council is making things worse with the recent plan to make Central Street, directly behind our shop, into paid parking."

Another Hebden Bridge shop owner, who did not want to be named, said: "I agree with the petition - parking and the planning and provision of parking in Hebden, to both support and reflect the dramatic growth in tourism and businesses in town in recent years is seemingly nonexistent.

"Notwithstanding the ‘corridor improvement plans’ the council has claimed for a few years, I believe, that parking is their main priority - although tourists, business owners and residents have yet to see any action or be properly furnished with anything vaguely sensible as a plan.

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"All we have seen is an increase in parking charges for the few spaces that are still available."

In a statement, the Hebden Bridge Business Forum said: "We definitely back improvement to the parking provision in Hebden Royd, and indeed other solutions such as provision of e-bikes and exploring park and ride options.

"Calderdale Council asked for the input of local businesses at the parking strategy meeting we held on February 7, so we do know that there is commitment to find solutions to the parking issue, which is encouraging.

"But there is a long way to go and it's much too slow!

"One of the challenges the area faces is the flood alleviation works being carried out to protect homes and businesses by the Environment Agency unfortunately takes parking away, further exacerbating the problem.

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"Plus the building of the new 54 space car park at Stubbing Home can’t begin until the EA finish their work there – its like a very slow Rubik’s cube!

"We’ll be asking Calderdale Council to bring someone from the Environment Agency for our follow up session with local businesses so that we can look at the holistic plan and challenge any areas where more joined up thinking would help."

Calderdale Council’s assistant director of strategic infrastructure, Adrian Gill, said: “Work in Hebden Bridge is part of a wider programme of improvements which will transform the busy route through the town and bring a number of benefits for those living, working or travelling in and around the upper Calder Valley.

“We understand the importance of Hebden Bridge as a visitor destination and want to support and encourage tourism and the many businesses in the town.

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“Work on the A646 aims to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists and reduce delays for local bus services on and around this busy route. However, we also understand the need for appropriate car parking and we’re currently undertaking survey work which will help inform the future parking strategy for Hebden Bridge. This includes considering options for additional parking around key events.

“The Council is also working with the Environment Agency (EA) to support the flood work in the town, which will help protect around 400 properties from flooding. More information about the flood scheme is available at https://eyeoncalderdale.com/hebden-bridge-fas/ The EA Flood Information Centre is now open on Valley Road on Mondays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm - call in to find out more information and meet members of the Project Team.”