Angry Halifax residents feeling short changed over parking permits

Residents spokesman Mr Trevor Knight, top left, and Councillor Susan Press
Residents spokesman Mr Trevor Knight, top left, and Councillor Susan Press

Residents of a Halifax town centre block of flats say they are being short changed by Calderdale Council over their parking permits.

They are angry that a compromise arrangement which ran for three months was scrapped as the council brought in new charges and changes at the end of February.

Residents of St James’s Court, Halifax, pay for an annual parking permit which costs £25 for their zone Z107, but with more than 90 households using the parking plus extra permits residents have taken out for relatives – it is often impossible to get one of the 11 spaces permitted.

This means they often have to leave their vehicles in a nearby pay-to-park council car park if, for example, they arrive home early from work when charges still apply or other times during the day.

For 12 months from November 2017 they lobbied the council, including a petition and contacting Halifax MP Holly Lynch, for permission for their permits to cover an additional five metered parking spaces next to the flats’ car park and believed their request had been successful when they were allowed to use these from November 2018 – until now.

Residents’ spokesman Trevor Knight said they appreciated there would always be problems but residents were angry a compromise solution of making a few more parking spaces available seemed to have been taken away.

Asking for use of just five extra spaces was a reasonable request given the situation, he said, with the lottery of getting a space in the designated car park compounded at times during the day when people attending the neighbouring Laura Mitchell health centre and Jobcentre often used it, he said.

It was a question of fairness, residents felt.

The Z107 permit sign allowing them to park in those spaces disappeared just days before new parking arrangements across the borough came in.

“There was no warning, absolutely nothing. We are left in the dark,” said Mr Knight.

“We have to pay £25 for a permit plus we have to pay for parking on the street as it gets later in the day and the spaces start to fill up.

“Our original request still stands.”

But having telephoned to query what was happening, having filled in and returned a council Service Request form first time around, he said a council official had told him he would have to begin the lobbying protest again.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, agreed that even a few more spaces residents were allowed to use with their permits would help.

“We’re being short changed. We pay £25 a year to park and can easily rack up £25 paying to park in a week.

“You rush home from work thinking ‘can I get one?’,” he said.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden), said the request had been received and would be considered as it would involve amending the Traffic Regulation Order for the area.

The five bays had not been given over to extended parking but a sign had been moved to a post near them, she said.

Coun Press said: “At St James Court, there are 11 residents’ permits and 27 visitor permits, which are valid on a first come first served basis in the 11 spaces that are available for use.

“The expectation is that there will be a regular turnover of spaces, with residents going out and visitors using on an infrequent basis.

“There hasn’t been any recent change to the number of available bays and we are unable to change parking restrictions without amending the Traffic Regulation Order.

“However, it was recently brought to our attention that a ‘permit holders’ sign had been removed from an existing permit area and attached to a post next to a length of pay and display bays in the area.

“This sign has now been removed and returned to the correct area.

“A request for the removal of yellow lines to create further bays has been received and this will be assessed for suitability and prioritised alongside other highways requests.”

She said there are two types of residents’ parking permits available; residents’ permits, displaying a specific vehicle registration, and visitor permits, displaying the resident’s address details but no specific registration.