Leeds council told to park it by local businesses
Leeds city council’s new parking plans has come under fire from local traders who believe the proposed plans will be damaging to the local economy. The council have announced that as of 18th November they will charge for Sunday and evening parking. Local traders argue that these new parking sanctions could lead to a loss in sales over the Christmas period, as people look to avoid the parking charges by shopping over the internet at home – damaging the local economy.
Leeds city council consulted local residents over the proposed plans, and despite 65% voting against the new parking charges the council went ahead. Outraged local independent businesses believe that this consultation did not go far enough, and was largely overlooked by the council.
In response they have started an online petition which has garnered some 650 signatures already. They urge the council to fully asses the impact on the city centre economy before putting any new parking charges into force. Local businessman Peter Connolly, who is spearheading the campaign, said:
“We are extremely concerned about these imminent parking charges and the impact that it will have on the city’s independent restaurants and retailers. We are annoyed that the council chose to ignore the results of its own consultation that showed the majority of people are against the charges.”
The council have commented on this issue, stating:
“We do understand that charging for something that was previously free was never going to be popular, but we were faced with finding a delicate balance between managing the increasing demand for parking alongside the need to keep traffic and the economy moving and encouraging people to make the most of public transport.”
Th council went on to assure the public that following the previous consultation, the council “took the feedback into account” and found the process “very useful”.
Opposition Conservative group leader, Cllr Andrew Carter agrees with local traders that, “it’s hard not to think that the council has not completely lost the plot on this”.
This is not the first time the council have met resistance to controversial parking charges this month. The council was forced to backtrack on a scheme which would have seen more than 20,000 residents charged £50 per year to park outside their own home. The aim of the plans was to alleviate the £164,000 the council spends every year on free resident parking schemes.
The new, controversial scheme was met with stiff opposition and scrapped following a court case which ruled that similar plans outlined by a council in London were illegal.
Following this the council agreed to review free resident parking and develop a more “tailored approach” to residential parking.
Cllr Carter was relieved that the plans were scrapped:
“These plans were ill-conceived. The administration is now left with a humiliating climbdown, but at least common sense has prevailed.”
What do you think to parking in your local city centre? Have you had trouble with local resident parking schemes? Let us know!