Kirklees Council: Free parking axed and fees to rise across Dewsbury, Batley and Spenborough
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Members of Kirklees Council’s cabinet gave the green light to plans which include rising all-day parking from £4 to £6.50 and fees brought in at car parks that are currently free.
The council hasn’t increased its prices for 14 years and says this move is necessary due to its financial position and the need to make a £47m saving before the financial year is out.
But the plans have proved hugely unpopular with both councillors and members of the public.
At a cabinet meeting, the report came under fire for a lack of information relating to the costs involved and the impact the plan will have on towns and villages.
Fears were also expressed for the survival of small businesses.
Dean Worsnop, a trader in Birstall and a member of Birstall Chamber of Trade, said small business owners were still dealing with the fallout from major issues like the pandemic and cost of living crisis.
“Birstall has already lost 10 long-standing businesses due to poor trade and never-ending rising costs,” he said.
"This kind of downturn could spell the end for some.
“It is our hope that the council will reconsider these plans, continue to support small business in Birstall and across Kirklees and not add another nail in our coffin.”
A petition with more tan 1,400 signatures to save Birstall shops and stop the introduction of parking charges was presented by Councillor Mark Thompson (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw).
Councillor Yusra Hussain, cabinet member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, said there will be a period of consultation and that a “thorough audit” will be carried out over the next 12 months.
She told the meeting that “evidence-based” changes would be made as required and that she was satisfied the cabinet had enough information to make a decision.
She added: “We haven’t raised our Kirklees parking charges for over 14 years and it’s not a decision that has been taken lightly and I cannot stress that enough.
"We have to look at parking charges across the borough to see what works and what doesn’t work and that is where that audit comes into place.”