With many Ilkley shops and businesses having opened their doors, albeit in a modified fashion to help encourage social distancing and safe shopping, after months of working extremely hard to adapt to the challenges of Coronavirus, District Councillors Kyle Green and Mike Gibbons are calling for Bradford Council to support Ilkley businesses.
Last year Bradford Council introduced parking charges in parts of Ilkley that did not have them, in the process failing to install parking machines that could take card payments despite the council's own report stating this would be the right course of action. This was done in the face of opposition from all three of Ilkley's District Councillors. With Ilkley now looking to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, both Councillors Green and Gibbons want to see the Labour executive at Bradford Council follow the actions of Leeds City Council (which is also Labour-run) by giving businesses that extra support to get back on their feet by announcing that all council-run car parks and on-street car parking will remain free until at least July 4. This would back up the national government's efforts to support businesses through grants, bounce back loans and the furlough scheme, all of which have helped Ilkley businesses over the past few months.
Speaking about the return of parking charges, Councillor Green stated:
“While the central government will have lessons to learn from its response to the coronavirus pandemic, the support it has provided to businesses and employees has been vital in keeping businesses trading. Ilkley was highlighted by Bradford Council's own reports of one in three jobs potentially being at risk and so instead of creating more challenges for our fantastic town the council simply needs to support the efforts by the central government by not creating barriers for businesses. As well as this, there needs to be an acknowledgement that in the longer term raising revenue from parking charges will not happen if businesses are not given the best chance to attract customers."