CONCERNED patients and staff at two Brighouse surgeries have been queuing up to sign a petition against the proposed introduction of charges at three council car parks.
Rydings Hall Surgery and Church Lane Surgery have collected more than 500 names on a petition which will be presented to a meeting of Calderdale Council on September 27.
Karen Saville, practice manager at Rydings Hall, and Jeanette Hellowell, business manager at Church Lane, said: “Parking is the issue that most concerns our patients. We have limited spaces at the two surgeries and our patients rely on being able to find spaces in the car parks so they can keep appointments.
“Many of our patients are elderly or have mobility problems and they need to be able to park close at hand.”
Calderdale Council is planning to introduce charges at three car parks in Brighouse - Church Lane, Mill Lane and Bank Street - where parking is currently free.
The proposed charges have angered traders and residents in Brighouse and petitions have been circulating in town centre shops.
“Patients have signed the petition quite readily,” said Karen. “They really are concerned about the effect these proposed charges will have on them.”
Jeanette said community staff, such as district nurses and health visitors whose jobs involved them making regular visits to and from the surgeries, were particularly concerned.
There are also concerns that the charges could have a negative impact on the Brighouse economy and force more people to shop in large supermarkets where parking is free.
“We hope the council will explore other ways of generating income,” said Jeanette.
People have until September 21 to sign the petition at the surgeries and it will handed over to Coun Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) on September 24.
But Coun Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) said Church Lane car park was often packed with vehicles owned by people who parked there all day while they were at work.
“I know of people who park their cars there in the morning then walk to the bus station and commute to work in Bradford or Huddersfield. That is not helping the economy of Brighouse or Calderdale at all.Often by 8.15am Church Lane car park is full up - and that is not assisting patients with their parking problems.”