Bradford say ‘generally gone well’ - Ilkley Councillor ‘sort it or scrap it’

 

Two weeks into the new parking scheme and Ilkley BID and local councillors are pushing Bradford Council for amendments.

 

Despite resistance from the BID team, who asked repeatedly for permits to be zoned for workers as they are for residents, Special Permits for staff who work in the town centre have been issued for specific streets leaving some residents angry that they are not seeing any improvements from a scheme which was supposed to help them.

 

Cllr Anne Hawkesworth has received many complaints from residents and has said to Bradford Council ‘sort it or scrap it’. She said ‘it was supposed to relieve parking issues for residents, but it has made it a problem for residents who previously didn’t have a problem.  Meanwhile other streets which are normally busy had been left with lots of space.’

 

Helen Rhodes, Ilkley BID Manager commented ‘We’ve had a lot of comments from workers that they are unable to park on the allocated street as it has been full when they have arrived for work. We’ve also had numerous reports of people being challenged by residents who were not aware that the roads would be used for workers as well as residents. We understand that in some parts of town, workers are now filling the streets and residents are not seeing any benefit from the revisions which must be very frustrating, but workers have to park somewhere.  The long stay parking charge of £5 per day would mean a cost of £1200 a year for a full-time worker and many of the employees just can’t afford this extra financial burden.

 

When the scheme was put forward, we thought the key driver was resident satisfaction but we soon realised there didn’t seem to have been due consideration for the people who work here and keep the town the attractive destination it is. The council then offered Special Permits which was a clear move in the right direction but making them street specific has clearly caused problems, with some residents threatening to start campaigns to boycott our most well-known and loved shops. It’s such a shame this is causing divisions between us and this is something we have to sort out. We will be monitoring the impact on businesses over the longer term but think some of the issues can be rectified now.’

 

Bradford Council have denied that making money from the scheme is one of the objectives but say the decision to make parking meters cash or App only, without the option to pay on card, was made as card payment machines are ‘not cost effective’.  Stuart Hyde QPM, Chairman of the Trustees at The Clarke Foley Centre said ‘at The Clarke Foley today we’ve had 15 people into the café asking for change for the parking meter. In this day and age, having to use cash or an App with terrible reviews isn’t very helpful. We’ve been told that the card charges on parking machines are much higher than those paid by retail businesses but so what? If the aim isn’t to maximise income, it shouldn’t matter.’

 

Sarah Barr-Young, Managing Partner at Stowe Family Law solicitors and Ilkley BID voluntary Director added ‘Accepting that workers need to park and residents want to be able to come and go and park close to their home, Ilkley BID are asking why the long stay parking areas and the short stay pay & display on the periphery of the scheme can’t be made available for workers with Special Permits. If raising income isn’t a priority, surely this would make sense? We think there needs to be a complete review of the locations allocated to Special Permit holders.’

 

The BID have highlighted a number of other issues and will be making a various formal requests to BMDC. These include the abolition of the evening parking charges in the South Hawkesworth Street car park, removal of the Sunday charges in the short stay parking areas, increasing the free period to one hour and the introduction of cycle parking spaces.

 

Helen Rhodes added ‘The feeling is that in general, the BID has already started to improve the relationship with Bradford Council.  Cllr Ross-Shaw who represents the council as a levy payer on the BID board has been really helpful in various areas. But the parking amendments are something that we presently have a major disagreement about. Our levy payers were so vocal about this being something they are worried about that we have to keep this at the top of the council agenda for Ilkley.’

 

BID Director Sarah Siddons concludes ‘We presumed that for a scheme costing this amount to implement, the council would have clear objectives about what they are trying to achieve and how this will be measured but so far, they haven’t been able to say what these are. We will be continuing to push for this information.

 

A Bradford Council spokesperson told the Ilkley Gazette: ‘The introduction of the new Ilkley parking scheme has generally gone well, however, we recognise there are still some issues with a number of streets.

 

‘When traffic levels return to normal after the school holidays, we will better understand the demands for each street and can reallocate the free space to reduce the pressure on the hot spots.’

 

‘Residents and businesses have raised similar issues with us directly, and we are looking at ways we can resolve these.  Initial spot-checks have shown demand remains high for spaces in the centre of town. This reflects how attractive Ilkley is to visitors and how much Ilkley has to offer.

 

‘We know that some of the longer stay areas are less well used at the moment, however, we won’t have a true picture of the impacts until everyone returns to work after the summer break.

 

‘The Council will continue to listen and work with the BID and all our stakeholders in Ilkley. We will monitor and assess the impacts of the scheme and make the necessary adjustments to ensure it works well for everyone.’

 

Businesses should continue to email parkingservices@bradford.gov.uk with any issues they are facing and also copy in parking@ilkleybid.co.uk so that we can assess the number of problems occurring. Residents should email parkingservices@bradford.gov.uk and also direct their concerns to the District Councillors Anne Hawkesworth: anne.hawkesworth@bradford.gov.uk, Mike Gibbons: mike.gibbons@bradford.gov.uk and Kyle Green: kyle.green@bradford.gov.uk.

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