Halifax parking: No 'special offers' for people paying to park in Halifax, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge and other Calderdale towns
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Calderdale’s Conservatives had asked fellow councillors to support their motion they said would boost Calderdale businesses by measures including reducing or even removing car parking charges.
This could be at specific times – such as Friday evenings, all day Sunday, special holidays and over the Christmas period.
Conservative group leader Coun Steven Leigh (Con, Ryburn) told a meeting of the full council they recognised efforts being made to revitalise the borough’s economy but “special deals” on parking at some times could help.
“We think that now there is some feeling among residents, and particularly businesses, that these car parking charges are affecting the local economy and that footfall will reduce as a result of that,” he said.
“We believe we should turn this situation to our advantage by using concessions regarding parking from time to time as a method of encouraging footfall and a motive to visit our town centres.”
But deputy leader of the council, Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said the council had a parking strategy which worked best for everyone.
“There is actually no evidence that towns and cities with higher charges suffer economically – indeed it seems the level of charges follows economic activity and demand,” he said.
Charges also reflected to cost of providing parking, said Coun Swift.
Generally businesses and business organisations tended to overestimate how many people travelled there by car and underestimate how many used other transport, he said.
Coun Paul Bellenger (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) disagreed and said people should be given every encouragement to come to Calderdale’s towns.
Many, such as disabled people or families with children, needed to use a car and options like park and ride schemes needed to be explored.
“The easier it is for them, the more money they will spend in the town centre,” he said.
Coun Felicity Issott (Con, Ryburn) said rural communities relied on their vehicles until public transport services significantly improved.
But Cabinet member for Towns, Tourism and Voluntary Sector, Coun Sarah Courtney (Lab, Calder) said footfall statistics compiled by Halifax BID showed an increase since 2021 when some evening parking charges were extended and steady since.
“Footfall actually hasn’t gone down, it’s gone up,” she said.