HUDDERSFIELD has been rated among the top 25% car-friendly towns and cities in the country.
Despite complaints about bus lanes, potholes and parking charges, the town has been ranked equal 15th in a survey rating the UK’s 65 biggest towns and cities on how well they treat motorists.
That’s two places higher than the 17th spot Huddersfield occupied in the 2010 survey.
St Helens retained its crown as the UK’s most car-friendly town, edging ahead of West Bromwich, Telford and Sutton Coldfield, according to the 2011 study by Virgin Money Car Insurance.
The Merseyside town was rated as best for the second year in the survey, which has been monitoring attitudes to car users since 2006.
West Bromwich came second after rising from 34th place in the 2010 list while Telford, twice rated as the top town, finished third out of the 65 towns. Sutton Coldfield and Sunderland were also in the top five.
Reading replaced London as the UK’s least car-friendly town. Slough was also in the bottom five, accompanied by Oxford, Cardiff and Nottingham.
The survey scores towns and cities on factors such as petrol prices, the cost of parking for two hours and the level of vehicle crime. Other factors included the number of speed cameras on major roads and the number of car parks.
Cathy Burger, Huddersfield town centre manager, said the town’s ranking was “a very good result” and said: “It shows we are heading in the right direction.”
She said it reflected the success of initiatives such as “variable messaging” on the ring road to give up-to-date information on parking spaces, providing extended parking times in short-stay car parks and changes to payment methods for the Alfred Street multi-storey car park.
Grant Bather, of Virgin Money, said: “The cost of petrol has risen by almost 20% over the past year due to VAT and fuel duty increases.
“Combined with the constant issue of parking problems, speeding tickets and vehicle crime, the UK’s 24 million drivers can be forgiven for feeling as though they need to steer clear of urban areas. However, not all towns and cities are the same and many local authorities do their best to ensure drivers aren’t treated like second-class citizens.”
Mr Bather added: “Clearly, cars shouldn’t rule the road, but motorists’ views certainly need to be taken into consideration.”
Huddersfield – which tied with Wolverhampton in 15th spot – was rated the most car-friendly place in West Yorkshire. Bradford was ranked 41st.
On petrol prices, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee ranking as the three cheapest locations to fill up while Oxford, Belfast, Cambridge and Crawley were the most expensive.
Parking charges were highest in London – even before the £8 daily congestion charge – with Stockport, West Bromwich and Rotherham the lowest.
Oldham leads the way in providing the most car parks with London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds at the bottom of the table.
Colchester was the safest town for cars, followed by Exeter, Eastbourne, Belfast and St. Helens, while motorists need to be wary in Slough, Cardiff and Manchester.