'A kick in the teeth for businesses' - political leaders hit out at parking changes in Calderdale
Leaders at Calderdale Council have come under criticism over the introduction of extending car park charging hours.
The council’s cabinet agreed in 2020 to extend existing charging hours in some areas of Calderdale.
The rollout of some of these changes started on Monday.
The proposals have come under criticism from opposition political parties.
Councillor Steven Leigh, Leader of the Calderdale Conservative and Unionist Group, said: “The Conservative Group believes that the decision to extend parking charges is entirely the wrong thing to do.
“This is a kick in the teeth for local businesses – which have struggled enormously throughout the pandemic.
“This decision to extend parking charges will negate the intended outcomes of what the Welcome Back Fund seeks to deliver. This highlights Labour’s lack of strategic thinking, or worse, their utter incompetence.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Coun James Baker (Warley), added: “High Streets are struggling to get back up and running.
“The last thing our town centre shops and traders need is the introduction of new charges at weekends and evenings.
“The last time our Labour administration tried to introduce these changes, Calderdale Council was in no overall control and we were able to block them. Now they have a majority they will be able to push them through.”
The council says the changes to parking hours are now being made following a peer review of parking charges by local government colleagues from throughout the country, and argues the fees continue to remain low compared to neighbouring boroughs.
The existing charging hours in Halifax (short stay), Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge and West Vale will be extended until 8pm.
These changes are being introduced to encourage a good turnover of spaces in recognition of the high demand for spaces generated by the night-time leisure economy the Council said.
Charges will also be extended to Sundays and bank holidays in Halifax town centre short stay car parks and on-street spaces, and bank holidays will become chargeable in Hebden Bridge.
Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for public services and communities, Coun Jenny Lynn (Lab, Park), said it had been more than eight years since charging hours, and three years since tariffs, had been reviewed.
“Whilst we know there’s never a good time to introduce any changes, the extension of charging hours, into the evenings, Sundays and bank holidays is a reflection of the demand for good quality and convenient parking spaces at these times and ensures there is a good turnover of spaces. It is also an indication of how attractive our borough continues to be to visitors.”
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