Businesses have welcomed the removal of parking charges in three Brighouse car parks, saying it will help the community to thrive.
Parking charges at the Bank Street, Mill Lane and Church Lane car parks in Brighouse were officially removed on Monday, news that has delighted retailers who feel “the community has now been put at the forefront”.
After seeing a drop in the number of customers, a campaign was launched to abolish the parking charges.
Residents and independent retailers were equally affected by the decision and worked with the new Conservative Cabinet to oppose it.
More than 2,500 signatures were gathered on a petition against the charges.
David Tankard, of The Flower Garden, said free car parking will help the situation.
“Our company works hard to promote Brighouse and keep our town thriving,” he said. Mr Tankard said the introduction of parking charges caused a major backlash.
He said Calderdale Council was short-sighted of the long term effects of the charges.
“Independent businesses are desperate for custom and, with free supermarket parking, smaller businesses get overlooked,” he said.
“Brighouse is a small town in comparison to a big city like Leeds where parking charges are expected.
“Surely residents are more likely to justify paying for parking in Leeds where there are a vast amount of shops rather than Brighouse.
“Now the parking charges are gone we will continue to promote Brighouse and protect our businesses.”
Lesley Adams, chairwoman of Brighouse Business Initiative, agreed that removal of parking charges would have benefits for business owners and shoppers in Brighouse.
“Not only is free parking convenient for customers who want to park in the town centre, it frees up residential streets,” she said.
Conservative Councillor Scott Benton said: “We have consistently opposed these charges ever since they were first proposed by the previous administration over two years ago.
“The new Conservative Cabinet made removing these unwanted parking charges a priority and I am delighted that we have been able to remove them in a timely manner.
“It has certainly been a long campaign to get to this point but I’m sure that the traders and residents of Brighouse will be delighted that the charges are finally going to be removed.
“The council has a duty to support the small, independent retailers that are at the heart of Brighouse and encouraging people to shop locally through removing these parking charges is a positive step forward.
“Introducing parking charges at a time when the local economy was just starting to improve sent out the completely wrong message to the shoppers that we are competing with our own larger neighbours.
“We will always support the local trade in our town. Returning free car parking to these car parks is an integral part of that.”
All three of the car parks will remain long stay parking, apart from Mill Lane which will be changed to a maximum stay of four hours.