Angry town centre traders gave full vent to their feelings at how bus gates are damaging their trade at a full council meeting.
The controversial gates were introduced by Kirklees Council in February in a bid to improve two main public transport routes and ensure the free flow of traffic where traffic congestion had been previously identified as a problem.
The idea is that they will have a positive impact on bus punctuality.
But Alisa Devlin, spokeswoman for Huddersfield Town Centre Action Group (HTCAG) who runs La Fleur flower shop on Westgate, is furious at the alleged decline the gates are having on businesses.
But she believes councillors are now starting to understand their viewpoint.
“There seemed to be much support for our cause among councillors,” she said. “We will present the petition at the next meeting with further evidence from traders of the declines and try to keep the pressure up.”
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Kirklees councillor Gemma Wilson, (Con, Lindley), said: “I have spent today (Thurs) with Clr Bernard McGuin and Clr Richard Smith speaking to business owners on Westgate, Byram Arcade and the indoor market after Alison’s excellent deputation at full council last night and the group has our support.
“The conversations we had with business owners were really worrying but sadly didn’t surprise us in that each retailer has noticed a decline – some more so than others – since the bus gates were installed.”
Clr Richard Smith, (Con, Kirkburton), a former retail business owner, added: “Alisa spoke very eloquently about the huge drop in footfall that started as soon as the bus gates were enabled.
“Unfortunately the response from Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for economy, skills, transportation and planning, was far from satisfactory.
“He defends the scheme as a positive move and would not accept that there was any detrimental effect upon business.”
In July Clr McBride told the Examiner he stood by his belief that there was no link between the bus gates and a drop in trade.
He said: “In the long term the bus gates will help the town because people can walk around more effectively, use the existing car parks and have a far more pleasant time.
“The council is monitoring footfall and we will look at it again later in the year.”