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Views sought on parking charges

DRIVERS and traders are to be asked for their views over new parking charges in Elland and Brighouse.

DRIVERS and traders are to be asked for their views over new parking charges in Elland and Brighouse.

Calderdale Council has 71 car parks which cost more than £300,000 a year to run.

Now it wants to bring in a fee of 20p per hour for 19 which are still free of charge, generating £110,000 a year.

Three would be affected in Brighouse - Daisy Street, Mill Royd Street and Owler Ings Road, and four in Elland - Timber Street, Brook Street, Southgate and Northgate.

Members of Calderdale Council's regeneration and development scrutiny committee last night agreed by a narrow margin - four to three - to go ahead with public consultations on the proposals.

The report into charges follows an external audit of car parking.

The report said: "If the budget options for 2001/2 and subsequent years are to be achieved from the car parking budget, it can only be through an increase in income, through increased and/or extended charges.

"Bearing in mind the auditors' report, it should be achieved through charges in the outer towns rather than Halifax alone."

The recommendation also includes off-street charges in Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden.

The report said reinvestment in parking facilities had been neglected for too long and that ideally £50,000 a year should be spent on repairs and refurbishment.

But Clr Patrick Phillips pointed out that car parking charges brought in more than £114,000 profit a year.

He said the council could afford to repair and maintain the car parks from this figure.

"Charges would damage trade," said Clr Phillips. "They would place an additional tax on the traders in the out of town areas."

But Clr Geoffrey Wallace called for fairness.

"If we have to have charges in one area of Calderdale surely it's only fair to have the same level of charges elsewhere?"

Clr Clare Townley called for people to look at the bigger picture.

"We are talking about a little bit of car parking revenue but if shops close as a result, jobs go," she said.


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