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Shoppers "won't bother" with Huddersfield town centre because of bus gates, says Kirklees Tory chief

New camera scheme just a "cash cow" for the council

Shoppers will snub Huddersfield town centre when bus gates are activated next month because of the fear of being fined.

That’s the view of Kirklees Council’s Tory leader, Clr Robert Light, ahead of the switch on of enforcement cameras on February 1.

Motorists will be barred from key routes in to the town centre at peak times. The roads will be monitored and automatic fines issued to those who ignore or fail to spot the signs.

Kirklees Council says the move, which mirrors schemes in Leeds and Bradford, will aid buses, taxis and shoppers.

But Clr Light said it was purely designed to raise cash from fines.

Motorists who drive through the ‘bus gates’ located at High Street, Market Street, Westgate, Kirkgate and St George’s Square will be hit with £60 tickets.

Bus gate map by Kirklees Council

Clr Light said the scheme was a “gimmick” and predicted it would drive business out of town and would later be removed.

“I’m totally against it,” he said. “This is the council trying to cash in by fining drivers, it’s ridiculous.

“The council knows loads of people will be fined. They’ve been really good cash cows for Leeds and Bradford.

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“But I think it’s wrong when they’re going out and deliberately fining people.”

Clr Light said he thought lots of people would be caught out in the first few months and said they would be deterred from shopping in town.

He added: “They will say Huddersfield is a hassle, I won’t bother, I’ll go to White Rose or Halifax.

High Street, Huddersfield, closed for installation of bus gates.

“This will do nothing for traffic flow, this isn’t about making things better for the town centre. It’s about raising money for the council.”

On Westgate and Kirkgate and the corner of Market Street, the new bus gates actually enforce existing traffic laws, that are frequently ignored.

Click below to see cars that have come a-cropper from town centre bollards

But the restrictions banning motorists from driving east on High Street and from entering John William Street from Railway Street by St George’s Square are new.

READ MORE: Disabled motorists not exempt from new bus gate rules, says Kirklees Council

Access to the train station car park is only possible from John William Street.

Kirklees’ highways chief, Clr Peter McBride, said: “The bus gates follows consultation with town centre users including businesses, residents, shoppers and students, who generally said they wanted Huddersfield to be an accessible town where people could get around easily and safely.

“In areas like Leeds and Bradford, bus gate and bus lanes are already in place and have been enforced using cameras for a number of years.

Huddersfield buildings needing attention - Clr. Peter McBride outside Estate Buildings
Clr. Peter McBride

“Their purpose is to ensure the free flow of traffic where historically traffic congestion has been a recognised problem, particularly where that has had an impact on public transport.

“These initiatives speed up bus journey times and reliability, and create a better environment in the town centre where people can get about more easily and safely.”

READ MORE: Kirklees Council decision over Huddersfield town centre bus gates expected this week

Bus gates will be active from 8am to 6pm around Westgate, Kirkgate, Market Street and Railway Street.

On High Street, near Huddersfield Town Hall, they will operate from 10am to 4pm.

People caught out will have their fines reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.



Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
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Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
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Henryk Zientek
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Martin Shaw
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