A Tory councillor is to make another bid to get rid of the controversial bus gates in Huddersfield town centre.
Clr Richard Smith’s motion to a full meeting of Kirklees Council will be debated on Wednesday, December 14.
The ‘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 congestion had previously been identified as a problem.
The hope was that their introduction would result in improvements in bus punctuality.
But it didn’t take long for traders to claim the gates were having a detrimental impact on trade.
Clr Smith said: “I am hoping that other parties and some members of the Labour group might support this motion in the interests of the town centre.
“This is my third attempt to get the council to change its mind about the bus gates.”
The motion urges the council to immediately suspend the bus gate project and secondly to create an all-party panel to “review the original introduction, objectives and future effect of the project.”
Clr Smith, a former retailer, added there were other factors apart from the alleged impact of the bus gates which were making retailing in the town centre a challenging way of making a living.
The rise of internet shopping and the success of out-of-town shopping centres did not help but he said that was precisely why “the council must create an environment that allows retailers to showcase their offering.
“Key to doing this is ensuring shoppers are still visiting our town.”
Flower shop owner Alisa Devlin, spokeswoman for Huddersfield Town Centre Action Group, has organised opposition to the gates and demanded their immediate abolition.
A petition was also signed by hundreds of people with traders claiming Huddersfield was in danger of becoming a ghost town.
Paul Wood, who has run The Keys, next to St Peter’s Church on Byram Street, said he was anxious to see the bus gates project halted immediately saying it was having a significant impact on trade.
But Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for economy, skills, transportation and planning, has defended the gates saying there was no link between them and a drop in trade.
In July 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.”