The council has been told to ‘get a grip’ as the parking free-for-all in Halifax town centre has had a devastating effect on businesses.
Parking in the town centre was suspended a fortnight ago following a legal blunder at the council.
Drivers working in and around the town centre have been parking all day for free, making it difficult for shoppers to find spaces.
Tony Murray, general manager at Harvey’s, said: “We’ve seen a huge decline - people just aren’t coming in - a person who might normally come in for lunch or a coffee cannot find a parking space.”
Mr Murray said drivers have also been parking in loading bays, making it difficult for delivery drivers.
Nicky Rathbone, of Franklyn’s Jewellers, said that parking spaces were now filled before 9am and many of her customers had raised concerns about the situation.
“It’s driving people away from Halifax and really putting them off from coming into the town centre,” she said.
Traders at Halifax Borough Market have said that the issue has had a damaging knock-on effect to their businesses, with some left in doubt whether they’ll be trading beyond Christmas.
David Samson of Sam’s Menswear said: “It’s very much affected us - everybody’s the same. You’ve only to look around and see - there’s nobody here.
“It needs to be sorted out very quickly.”
Frank Nutter at House of Cards said free parking is exactly what the town centre needs, but the unmonitored free-for-all is damaging.
“If you go to supermarket, if you go to White Rose, Meadowhall, you don’t pay - that’s why people go there and aren’t going into town centres anymore.”
Angela Wiley, deputy manager at Woolshops, said: “It’s a real shame what’s happening to retailers - it’s been very difficult indeed.”
Linda Riordan, Labour MP for Halifax, said: “Town centre traders are right to be angry. This shambles is costing them important business at a vital time of the year.
“The council leadership really needs to get a grip. The local economy has suffered enough in the last four years.”
Council leader Stephen Baines has asked Marketing Halifax to contact its members to ask how the issue has impacted their business.
Ian Gray, the council’s director of Economy and Environment, said: “Enforcement Officers have been reintroduced to town centre routes to enforce restrictions including parking on double yellow lines. We are also enforcing loading bays.”
Meanwhile, a poll on the Courier’s website found 17 per cent want the charges restored, 29 per cent want them reduced and 55 per cent want to see charges removed.