COUNCILS across the country are slashing parking charges to try and help town centres fight the recession.
But Kirklees Council has no plans to follow suit.
The council is offering some free parking in the run-up to Christmas.
But it has no plans to cut charges in the pay and display car parks and on-street parking areas – including the Kingsgate centre.
Councils that have taken action include York, Swansea, Wolverhampton and Southampton.
They have made cuts of up to 50% in parking charges after shopkeepers complained the effects of the recession were hitting trade.
A Kirklees spokesman said: “There is currently a major initiative underway in Dewsbury at Cliffe Street and there are further free parking already announced for Huddersfield and Holmfirth for the Christmas period.
“These concessions exceed those of previous years.
“In addition there are many small towns and villages throughout the district that have the benefit of no parking charges at all and these include Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Honley, Marsden and Mirfield”.
The council had already announced that parking would be free on-street and in all council-controlled car parks from 4pm on Thursdays from November 19 until December 24 and all day on Sundays from November 22 until December 31.
Free parking has been allocated on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 December to encourage visitors to come into the town.
Clr Mehboob Khan, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “This is more evidence of our commitment to supporting town-centre businesses.
“By expanding the free parking scheme we are offering real help to residents and traders alike and helping to tackle the effects of the recession at an important time for business”.
The council also faces pressure from private car parks. The latest one opened this week in Colne Road, offering drivers the chance to park for £2 all day – undercutting considerably the charges levied by the council in areas like Springwood and St Andrew’s Road.
There are already privately-run car parks in Kings Bridge, St Andrew’s Road and Kings Mill Lane.
They are on sites earmarked for development where the projects have been put on hold.