Parking fees increased in Halifax, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge and other parts of Calderdale as council tries to get people out of their cars
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“Nudging” people out of their cars to use public transport, walk or cycle to help reduce emissions and tackle the climate emergency is one reason for increasing charges, senior councillors have said.
Others include bringing the borough’s parking fees with neighbouring places.
They will use the cash to help upkeep the area’s highways, they explained.
Most of the changes involve increasing parking fees but the charges for some long stay car parks will remain the same or have even been reduced.
Calderdale council’s cabinet had been asked to look again at its parking fee plans by the scrutiny board after concerns about the price hikes.
Coun Sue Holdsworth (Lib Dem, Greetland and Stainland) said the board felt there had been little opportunity among non-cabinet councillors to discuss proposals and possible impacts including those on people who needed to run a car, to work or to support their family, especially amid a cost of living crisis.
Alternative transport such as buses were not always to hand and possible impact of footfall to Calderdale’s towns and businesses – an issue raised by Brighouse BID – were also concerns, said Coun Holdsworth.
The board wondered if some of the money raised could be used to reduce public transport costs, she said.
Cabinet member for Public Services and Communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park) said the climate emergency was an issue: “We really do have to continue to try and nudge and encourage people wherever possible to consider alternative modes of transport such as walking, cycling or using public transport - otherwise we’re just never going to get there in terms of our objectives as far as air quality and health is concerned.”
She said the council’s experience regrading town footfall fears were that after a short period following rises, parking usage returned to usual levels.
Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Calder) – cabinet member for Climate Change, Active Travel and Housing – agreed, citing congestion in Hebden Bridge during the Vintage Weekend.
“Hebden Bridge came to a point where it could not take any more cars,” he said.
“They were parking illegally, they were parking in places they shouldn’t and it shows that having a robust and strategic parking policy is a really important thing.
“Part of that is saying, yeah, you should pay for your parking.
“I don’t think parking on the roadside for free is a god-given right.”
Whatever people thought about public transport, the town was well-connected by train and bus although there were problems for rural communities, he said.
“It’s part of us talking about air quality, about the climate emergency,” he added.
“If you are going to own a car and if you can afford to run a car, then you can afford to pay small amounts for parking – and they are small amounts when you look comparatively.”
As reported by the Courier, there have also been concerns about price increases for parking at Shibden Park, where fees are rising from 50p for an hour’s parking to £1 and from £1.50 for more than five hours to a staggering £5.