Chamber of Trade reveals list of parking proposals for Dewsbury town centre

Dewsbury Chamber of Trade has published a list of proposals to improve the provision of car parking and boost the town centre economy.

By Dominic Brown
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 6:00 am

In an 18-page document, the chamber sets out what it sees as the main problems, and how these can be resolved to make things better for shoppers, businesses, residents and visitors.

The report calls for a resolution to the anomaly of why Dewsbury, the principal town of North Kirklees, pays parking charges while other towns in the district do not. The chamber feels that this would encourage short visits.

The report said: “While free parking throughout the town is attractive, the chamber recognises the difficulties created by the limited number of on-street spaces and the need to make space available for as many visitors as possible.

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The car park at Dewsbury Railway Station

“On-street spaces should be free for one hour as currently applied in Batley (charged as 45 or 90 minutes).”

The chamber believes people could be encouraged to make longer visits to the town by making the main car parks on Railway Street and Cliffe Street free of charge.

Making the major car parks free would have multiple benefits, such as sending a clear message that the town is open for business, and removing the perception of unfairness against Dewsbury.

Chamber members feel that changes to the parking provision in the town would support the night time economy.

Cliffe Street car park in Dewsbury

The report said: “The properties around Market Place are the natural location for restaurants, pavement cafes and other evening entertainment venues.

“We have the beginning of this development in Emojies and the Black Bull, both of which have benefitted from substantial public investment.

“We therefore have the opportunity to retain the advantages of pedestrianisation during the day while having Market Place contribute to the night time economy by providing parking during the evening.”

Commuters on the Leeds-Huddersfield-Manchester line often drive to Dewsbury to park before taking the train, because Dewsbury’s parking charges are cheaper than Leeds.

As long as there is spare capacity, the chamber is calling for Cliffe Street to be marketed to these potential users as the lowest cost park and ride destination. They can then use the free town bus or take the short eight-minute walk to the station.

This would release the already limited parking in the station car parks for genuine Dewsbury commuters.

Providing a clearly signposted pedestrian route to the station down Crackenedge Lane and Corporation Street would bring them right past the market and through the heart of the town centre.

Another proposal includes installing large signs at all ring road junctions with a “Welcome to Dewsbury” message and directions to free parking.

Car parks should be integrated into the town bus route to ensure that the elderly and infirm are not excluded.

Members would like to see a review of how the Sharpe Street/Battye Street gateway to Dewsbury can be improved.

The chamber would also ask town centre residents to pay an annual fee which would allow them to park without restriction in any of Dewsbury’s off-street car parks.

The report said: “The ‘Living Town’ strategy calls for residential development with the intention of attracting residents with disposable income.

“If no provision is made for car ownership, this will limit residents to single and/or low income people with no car, whereas the objective is to develop quality homes attractive to families or individuals with disposable income - which inevitably includes cars.

Residents choosing the urban lifestyle must accept that it is not always possible to have convenient car parking as well.

“However, there is no reason for such residents in flats to be disadvantaged compared to a house owner with a resident parking area outside their front gate for which they pay a £15 annual fee.

“We propose that flat owners within the ring road should pay the annual fee and then be able to park without restriction in any of the Dewsbury off-street car parks.

“This will provide a parking arrangement that developers can offer to potential residents suitable to make Dewsbury an attractive place to live and supporting the ‘Living Town’ strategy.”