A row has erupted over car parking charges as organisers of the Brighouse 1940s Weekend face a big bill.
Brighouse Business Initiative (BBI) must pay Calderdale Council more than £400 for hire of the Bethel Street car park on Saturday, June 7, which was used for a military vehicles display during the hugely successful event which saw approximately 100,000 people flock to the town for the festivities.
But BBI chairwoman Lesley Adams feels that, as the 1940s Weekend brought in more than £1 million of trade to Brighouse, the council could forego the car park hire charge and be more supportive to the organisers.
“Our event is sustainable. It’s growing year on year,” she said.
“We are putting a great amount back into the economy, not just in Brighouse but across Calderdale.
“We are doing some great work in Brighouse. Some support would be nice.”
Residents and visitors are also angry about the imposition of parking charges. The Echo mailbag has been full of letters from people praising the BBI for putting on another great event but criticising the council for a perceived lack of support.
Katy Meredith, of St Andrew’s Drive, Brighouse, said: “What an amazingly brilliant, fantastic weekend the people of Brighouse have given us again. Hats off to those who thought up the idea.
“But a few not unexpected surprises - Calderdale Council again showing how little they support our town.”
Carolyn Walton, Calderdale Council’s highway network manager, said: “The event organisers contacted the council’s parking services and asked if they could use Bethel Street car park for the event. They were aware of the costs from the outset and agreed to pay them.
“The standard commercial rate for suspension of parking bays in Bethel Street car park is £10 per bay per day. However, we only charge £6 per bay per day for charitable events.
“Although the Brighouse 1940s Weekend wasn’t a charitable event we agreed to the lower rate, which meant a discount of 40 per cent. As the car park is free on Sundays no charge was made for then, just for the Saturday.
“The council did not make a profit from this but covered the loss of income from the car park, which is heavily used.
“All staff time spent advising and arranging things with the event organiser was not charged for, even though a cost is attached to this.”
Mark Thompson, Calderdale Council’s head of housing, environment and renewal, said: “We know how important our local businesses are to Calderdale’s economy, and we work hard to help them.
“We offer an extensive range of support through our Business Growth Calderdale scheme – from start-up support for the self-employed to mentoring new and established businesses.
“So far we have worked with over 1,300 businesses across the borough; 84 jobs have been created and 145 jobs protected as a result.
“We also work closely with other organisations that can help businesses, such as the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.
“We are aware of the excellent work that businesses and members of the Brighouse community do to promote and support the town, and our current work to step up help for businesses in Calderdale’s market towns should further support this.”