Fury at plans to charge for street spaces in Skircoat Green

Residents and traders at the meeting about parking in Skircoat Green
Residents and traders at the meeting about parking in Skircoat Green

Furious residents and traders in part of Halifax are launching a battle against major changes to parking rules in their neighbourhood.

People living in Skircoat Green have been told they will be asked to pay £25 a year for permits to park on their streets and pay and display parking will be introduced on some roads if council proposals go ahead.

The plans come after complaints from residentsabout Calderdale Royal Hospital staff and visitors parking outside their homes.

But a meeting, organised by a group of residents, on Tuesday night heard a catalogue of complaints about the council’s solution to the problem.

Around half of people asked by the meeting’s organisers claim they never received a consultation document sent by the council in January, while All Saints School headteacher Simon Scott and Rev Steve Lees from All Saints Church both said they had not been consulted at all.

Other residents fear that because a space outside their home would not be guaranteed and in some areas would also be pay and display, they would be paying for permits for spaces they may not be able to use.

Some said their streets did not have enough space to park even one car per house. “They’re asking us to pay for spaces that aren’t there,” said one woman. The meeting also heard concerns that if the street pay and display charges were cheaper than the hospital car park, even more staff and visitors would park on the surrounding streets.

Councillor John Hardy (Cons, Skircoat) said he instigated the parking review because of the huge number of complaints about parking from people in the area. But he said it had since “spread like a spiderweb” and there were now elements that were “purely fund raising” that he did not agree with. To contact the residents group email sgparking@hotmail.co.uk.

Geoff Willerton, head of Planning and Highways at Calderdale Council, said: “In response to concerns raised by Skircoat residents over a number of years, the council proposes to introduce new parking arrangements in the area around the Calderdale Royal Hospital.
“Broad outlines of the scheme were the subject of consultation in January this year, when 1750 local households were contacted, with almost 700 responses. Now the council has launched a second phase of consultation on the resulting, more detailed proposals.
“Almost 70 per cent of respondents to the initial consultation supported the introduction of a residents’ parking permit scheme for the area and over half of these households expressed their willingness to pay a fee. Since then, the council has agreed to charge £25 per vehicle per year, from January 1, 2013, for all new and renewed residents’ permits throughout Calderdale, to cover the cost of administering the various schemes.”

Council officers will be available to discuss the proposals on Thursday, between 4pm and 7.30pm at Heath Training Centre.