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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Kirklees car parking charges soar by 60%, residents voice concerns over fee hikes

Fees will also be introduced at car parks that are currently free but this part of the plan is at an earlier stage

An increase of around sixty percent will hit car parking charges in Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Dewsbury next month, as the final decision on the new fees was made this morning.

Friday, 22 March, Kirklees Council’s Cabinet Committee for Local Issues met and agreed that the tariff hike will be brought in from Monday, 1 April. Previously, the council said that the new fees would be brought in from 19 February but this didn’t come to fruition as a 21-day period of consultation needed to be carried out.

The parking charges proposed for Kirklees. Image: Kirklees council

Friday’s decision means that short-stay parking in Huddersfield will increase from 70p an hour to £1.10 per hour, with fees in Dewsbury and other areas of Kirklees set to increase from 5p to 40p per hour. Long-stay parking across the borough will increase from £4 all day to £6.50 all day.

Cllr Graham Turner. Image: Kirklees Council

Speaking at the meeting today, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, Cllr Graham Turner, said: “It’s worth pointing out that we haven’t raised charges since 2009. We’ve tried to be a good authority by keeping our prices low, especially in a cost of living crisis but unfortunately, the time has come where we have to look at increasing our income through car parking because we have been losing money over those years.

“And inflation has been 60.69 percent since 2010, so an average of 3.45 percent, so if we’d increased them year on year, we’d have still got to the same figure we’re proposing here today.”

In addition to the increase, the council is planning to bring charges in at car parks across Kirklees that are currently free but a consultation will be taking place before this happens.

Cllr Aafaq Butt. Image: Kirklees Council

In response to a question from Colne Valley Conservative, David Heathcote, at last month’s Full Council meeting, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees, Cllr Aafaq Butt said that a consultation relating to Meltham and Honley was due to begin before the end of February.

However, this didn’t happen and now the Colne Valley Conservatives are calling on the council to either publish the consultation or scrap the plan to introduce fees at car parks in Meltham, Honley and Lindley.

Cllr Bernard Mcguin. Image: Kirklees Council

Cllr Bernard McGuin said: “We’re now halfway through March and the promised consultation has still not been launched. Why doesn’t the council admit this is an unpopular choice and just scrap it? Or are they waiting until after the local elections in fear of losing even more councillors following the recent exodus?

“I want to know how would parking be monitored? How much would it cost to pay parking wardens? Would it increase congestion on busy roads and would it drive visitors to park outside residents’ houses?”

Damian Brook. Image: Colne Valley Conservatives

Cllr Damian Brook added: “The council should be encouraging people to shop in our local town and village centres, not putting barriers in their way. They should not be afraid of local opinion but publish this consultation. Either get on with it or scrap it!”

When we asked when the council will be consulting on the introduction of fees in Kirklees’ car parks, Cllr Butt said: “Now that the uplift in fees has been approved, our parking team can begin the statutory process to introduce fees in car parks across the borough which are currently free. They are currently reviewing the best way to conduct the consultation which will give the best opportunity for meaningful feedback.”

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