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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Consultation on controversial Kirklees parking fees have begun

It was previously expected to commence by the end of February

After weeks of uncertainty, Kirklees Council has confirmed that residents can have their say on plans to scrap free parking in towns and villages from yesterday (11 April).

A review of parking tariffs across all Kirklees’ council-operated off-street car parks and on-street parking bays got the green light from Cabinet in November last year as part of the council’s efforts to address a £47m deficit. Increased fees have already been brought in at Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Dewsbury, with the cost of all-day parking rising from £4 to £6.50 in Huddersfield town centre.

The next part of the plan would see charges brought in at all free council-run car parks across the borough’s towns and villages like Lindley, Honley, Meltham, Slaithwaite, Batley and Cleckheaton, but before this can go ahead, a period of public consultation must be carried out.

The plans have proved highly unpopular with Kirklees’ communities, with a 5,784 signature-strong petition against the fees being rolled out in Honley and Meltham presented by Cllr Charles Greaves (Independent, Holme Valley North), at a Cabinet meeting just yesterday (9 April).

The councillor pressed Cabinet for an answer on when the consultation would begin, particularly as it was expected by the end of February. However, no answer could be given as the relevant Cabinet Member – Cllr Aafaq Butt – was absent. The council has since confirmed that the process will begin imminently.

David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth & Regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “On Thursday we will be launching a statutory consultation in the form of a Traffic Regulatory Order (TRO) with a 21-day feedback period for each of the 57 car parks across Kirklees that are currently free. Changes to how long drivers can park in some of these car parks are also part of the TRO change.

“At the start of the consultation, legal notices will be placed in the local press and affected car parks, and local councillors will also be notified as part of the process. We will then listen to all feedback and make a decision that is right for each area at a local level before submitting a report to Cabinet Committee Local Issues before proceeding with any changes.

“Free, timed on-street spaces across the borough will not be affected by the proposals, so there will still be free parking available for those wishing to visit our towns and villages.”

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