Parking fees ‘relatively low’

AROUND 3,000 people have objected to introducing car parking fees in four Brighouse car parks, but a Brighouse councillor wants to know what are the alternatives?

Several petitions were handed in to Calderdale Council last week opposed to implementing parking charges in Bank Street, Church Lane, Mill Lane, all in Brighouse town centre, and Wakefield Road at Hipperholme.

Councillor Colin Stout (Ind, Brighouse) has always spoken openly about his support for the proposals.

“I want to ask those who signed the petitions what alternatives they would like to use to find the £1 million which the parking proposals are set to raise,” he said.

“We have to save millions over the next few years. How do they suggest we do that?”

He said he would fight to keep the on-street car parking free but he didn’t agree that these car parks helped to generate trade in the town.

“It is the traders who use these car parks. They are full by 8am. Some even park in these car parks and get the bus or train to Leeds because it is cheaper.

“These car parks are not being used by shoppers.”

Calderdale’s economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins said he was not going to pretend for one second that the council was going to withdraw the proposals but they were prepared to consult.

“I’ve talked to the shopkeepers and retailers who have got very particular problems and we are prepared to look at inventive solutions to their problems.”

He said it was incorrect that retail workers would face a bill of £1,800 a year to park in Brighouse, saying an annual permit was £660 plus VAT.

He answered questions by members of the public who raised concerns about whether the plans would deter shoppers from visiting local town centres, and added: “We’ve left on-street parking alone.

“We’ve got evidence that this will not have a detrimental effect to retailers.”

Lesley Adams, chairwoman of the Brighouse Business Initiative, questioned how the council’s priority of “supporting a thriving economy” sat with plans to remove free car parking in Brighouse.

Councillor Tim Swift, the leader of Calderdale Council, said that in having to make £40m in savings, the council had to explore ways of generating income in addition to making cuts.

He described the parking charges as “relatively low”.