Tory bid to halt more charging thrown out

A BID to de-rail controversial plans for a parking shake-up has failed.

Conservative members of Calderdale Council’s economy and environment panel who had asked for further scrutiny of the proposals which include higher fees have had their request turned down. A meeting of the panel heard councillors Richard Marshall (Con, Luddenden Foot), Scott Benton (Con, Brighouse) and Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) wanted the panel to consider all the options including a review of the council’s parking services and their impact on the local economy.

Coun Marshall said he wanted the decision to approve in principle a scheme by the council’s Lab/Lib-Dem coalition which could raise nearly £1 million looked at again because he said it should have come to the scrutiny panel “as a matter of principle” and because of the current economic climate.

Coun Benton said he knew of 10 petitions that had been started across Calderdale against the plans. He denied claims by the council’s economy and environment spokesman Coun Barry Collins’s (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) that that the bid was a political move, saying he would not be fulfilling his role as a local councillor if he did not raise the concern of “thousands” of residents.

The plans would see parking fees put up in 2014 by around 10p an hour to raise £245,000.

Another £660,000 would come from a variety of measures including extending the period of parking charged in Halifax from 6pm until 8pm, introducing charges on streets around Calderdale Royal Hospital and on another 14 council-run car parks.

Around 4,200 residents would be charged £25 a year for permits to park outside their homes and limited free parking on Saturdays in Halifax could be replaced with a £1 charge.

Drivers will not be able to formally comment until the details are published in a series of Traffic Regulation Orders.

Coun Collins said the council is facing having to save £84m by 2017 - around a third of its budget. He added that charging for parking in areas where it is usually free all day would encourage shoppers rather than deter them in areas like Brighouse, Hipperholme and Todmorden where visitors can not find spaces because they are taken up by traders.

The panel voted not to refer the matter back to the council or cabinet.