Businesses and shoppers have welcomed Calderdale Council’s decision to introduce a temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to ease parking pressures within the town centre in the run-up to Christmas.
Following the suspension of parking fees earlier this month after a legal blunder by the council, businesses said that the issue was having a devastating impact on their trade, with some reporting losses of up to 25 per cent.
Now, the temporary TRO will allow the council to enforce time limits on parking bays, which traders hope will encourage shoppers back to the town centre.
The emergency measure, which will be in place from Friday, November 7, and enforced from Monday, November 10, will see the reintroduction of short stay on-street parking within the town centre to ensure that spaces regularly become available throughout the day.
Tracy Harvey, managing director of Harvey’s, said: “We have lost a substantial amount of trade.
“Workers have been parking all day in the town centre and there hasn’t been anywhere for people to park who are coming in to shop.
“We need to plead with workers not to abuse the system - it’s very nice to be able to park close to work, but it’s having a seriously detrimental impact on all businesses.
“Spaces need to be freed up for shoppers to be able to park.
“The new measures are very welcome and are the best of both worlds as spaces will be made more available, but there needs to be a clear message about how the order will be enforced.
“It’s a very key, crucial time of year and we were terrified that this would take us through Christmas, but i’m hoping this will ease the situation.”
She added that she hoped the measures would encourage people to come back into the town centre to support local businesses.
Karen Paterson, owner of The Halifax Wine Company, has seen a 15 per cent decrease in sales since the debacle.
“We have all had issues. It’s had an impact as customers are not able to park, but we are pleased to see that the temporary TRO will come into effect,” she said.
“There has been damage. We’re coming to our most vital time of year and the lack of information about the issue was disappointing.
“These streets need to have short stay time limits to allow for a turnover of cars and to allow customers and shoppers to come in.”
Nicky Rathbone, manger of Franklyns Jewellers and Goldsmiths, said that many of her customers had raised concerns about the situation.
“I think the measures will ease the situation but I don’t think it will completely make it better,” she said.
“I think the town centre needs to address the situation in a different way to bring people in.”
Vicki Scott, of Toffee Smith confectionery shop in Halifax Borough Market, welcomed the announcement of the TRO after seeing a 25 per cent drop in weekly sales following the parking blunder.
Stephen Ashton, of Carters Underwear in the Borough Market, added: “The new measures have got to be beneficial.
“There has been a knock on impact on our business as we can’t sell things if people can’t get here.
“Somebody told me that they had tried to come into town five times and eventually found a space on their sixth try. People will end up going somewhere else.”
Shirley and Jack Broadley, who regularly travel from Bradford to Halifax. said: “There has been at least three times where we haven’t been able to find a space to park and we’re usually here for 10am.
“A time limit will give more people a chance - if people are parked all day it doesn’t give anybody else a chance,”
Shopper David Nettleton uses on-street parking and said: “It’s good because it’s free, but you do have a problem finding a space.
“I do agree with bringing in a time limit as it will make things fairer and if the situation is driving businesses out of the town centre then its not good.”
Roger Hartley travels from Cullingworth into Halifax to shop. He said: “I’ve spent longer just driving round looking for a parking space than its taken me to come from home.
“I was on the verge of going home - its not good for shopkeepers and the measures might ease the situation.”
Ian Gray, Calderdale Council’s director of economy and environment, said: “Although commuters have enjoyed all day free parking within the town centre since we lifted the restrictions on October 8, 2014, we know that this has reduced the spaces available for visitors and shoppers.
“We recognise that this will become more important in the run up to Christmas.
“The temporary TRO should ease the pressure by freeing up parking spaces. We are also working hard to introduce a new, permanent TRO and expect that this will be in place in early 2015.”
Coun Barry Collins, deputy leader of the Labour Group on Calderdale Council, said: “Why has this decision taken so long? With Christmas right around the corner? It was the only common-sense option.
“Now, let’s just hope it works, until a replacement TRO has been agreed.”
From November 10, when the temporary TRO is in place, drivers will need to check signage for on-street parking to make sure that they do not exceed the time limits.
Parking charges will continue to be suspended until the permanent TRO is introduced.