MP raps parking charge plan as hundreds sign petition

Brighouse parking charges.  Bethel Street.

Brighouse parking charges. Bethel Street.

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Hundreds of people have signed a petition expressing their anger over proposed parking charges for Brighouse town centre as the debate reaches the House of Commons.

Calderdale Council is planning on introducing on street charges in Brighouse town centre and bring fees into the current free car parks including the one in Wakefield Road, Hipperholme.

John Buxton, Steven Lord, Howard Blagbrough and Scott Beton at on of Brighouse's car parks.

John Buxton, Steven Lord, Howard Blagbrough and Scott Beton at on of Brighouse's car parks.

However, ward councillors, businesses and visitors have signed the petition which was set to be handed in at the full council meeting yesterday.

The Calder Valley has also hit out over the plans during a debate on the Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill.

Craig Whittaker MP said that the Council has an ‘unflattering record’ of introducing car park charges in the borough.

“I challenged the notion that Local Authorities do not use car parking charges as a means of generating additional revenue. Whilst I am not placed to comment upon the choices that other Local Authorities have made over the last few years, I can say a few words about Calderdale’s unflattering record in this regard.

“In 2012, the Cabinet of Calderdale Council approved a raft of additional car parking charges. The title of the Cabinet Committee Paper was the ‘Parking Income Generation Study’, and the first line of the report unashamedly made it explicitly clear that the intention of the proposals was to ‘generate additional revenue from parking

“Local Authorities such as Calderdale, will, I suspect, continue to try to defend their actions in increasing parking charges, however tenuous the link with the legislative guidelines and a genuine desire to improve the traffic management and parking situation in their area.

“The latest proposals for additional charges hit a number of towns in my constituency including Brighouse where the local business group, the Brighouse Business Initiative (BBI), have worked incredibly hard to reinvigorate the town centre and to increase footfall.

“To the dismay of the traders, residents and the Local Councillors, the Council are seeking to impose on-street parking charges in the town centre despite it being widely acknowledged that there are no current problems with the flow of traffic, nor with the turnover of parking spaces for consumers. To say that the local business community are furious is an understatement.

“The traders are rightly concerned about the damaging effect that these proposals could have upon their businesses and their livelihoods and despite making their feelings known to the Council, local politicians seem content to proceed with their plans regardless of the scale of any opposition.”

The Council has said it has been five years since they reviewed its on-street parking and car park charges, so they do not all reflect current demand and need to make savings of at least £603,000 in the parking services budget,

Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said at the time of proposals going before Cabinet in December: “It was important to hear as many local views as possible as we have to get this right – to make substantial savings, help local businesses, make parking as easy as possible for residents and visitors and minimise vehicle emissions to protect people’s health and the environment.

“Our review of parking charges is also a real opportunity to look at introducing easier ways to pay for parking, including payment by text and card.”