Traders and councillors are warning that revised car parking charge proposals for Brighouse will be a ‘disaster’ and cause ‘chaos’ to residential streets around the town centre.
Initial plans were met with opposition from ward councillors and members of the public in September. Revised plans will be discussed by members of the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel tonight (Thursday).
The Panel will now discuss the proposal to change the currently free car parks in Church Lane, Bank Street and Mill Lane to pay and display, with a single charge of £2 per day.
The parking service also proposes introducing an on-street parking charge of 40p per hour, limited to one hour.
Steven Lord from the Brighouse Business Initiative said: ““We all know that the council is trying to balance it’s budget but the proposed reintroduction of car parking charges in Brighouse shows how short sighted they are.
“In an era where town centres are under pressure from internet sales and out of town shopping centres it is ridiculous to make car parking more expensive and therefore give a further disincentive to town centre shopping.
“Not only that, it would appear that the Council sees Brighouse as a successful town which can afford to be charged for parking whereas towns like Elland cannot.
“I can only see this as a “tax on success”. They completely miss the point that Brighouse is successful because of the hard work put in by volunteer groups such as the Brighouse Business Initiative and the new Arts for Brighouse.
“These voluntary organisations receive virtually no support from Calderdale and yet produce great results.
“In contrast, Calderdale are putting millions a year into Halifax projects such as the Piece Hall, Square Chapel, Victoria Theatre, Shay stadium etc.
“Not only are the charges themselves a tax on our success but they would endanger future events such as the hugely popular 1940s Weekend.
“The BBI has to pay Calderdale for the loss of income in any car park we use for an event. If we also have to cover the loss of on street charges for the closed roads we would find this very difficult to cover.
“In my opinion, the charges, which can only be seen as a tax on our success, would drive shoppers out of town and have a negative impact on our ability to run town centre events which keep the town thriving.”
Calderdale Council said the aim of these proposals is to support local businesses by ensuring availability and turnover of parking spaces.
Councillor Scott Benton (Brighouse, Conservative) said he was incredibly disappointed that the Labour administration is looking to reintrodue charges to the free car parks after getting the charges overturned two year ago.
“It shows the views of local people and businesses are not being listened to.
“We had a number of complaints from residents who could not park when they got home from work as people parked on streets around the town residental streets - it was chaos.
“It will be a complete disaster and we will do everything in our power to fight these proposals.”
The Scrutiny Panel meeting is being held at Halifax Town Hall from 6pm.