Liberal Democrat councillors in Almondbury have raised questions over the state of a village car park which could see charges introduced in January.
Councillors Paola Davies and Alison Munro have urged Kirklees Council to delay introducing car parking charges at Almondbury Westgate until the car park is in a better state.
Last month, the council’s Cabinet approved a proposal to increase car park charges across the district and introduce charges in council-owned car parks that are currently free.
The Cabinet also announced that it would consult on the decision to increase car parking charges in the form of a Traffic Regulatory Order (TRO) with a 21-day feedback period and would then make a decision that is appropriate for each area.
Charges are to be introduced at Westgate Car Park, in the heart of Almondbury. However, the Almondbury Liberal Democrat councillors argue that the car park is not properly surfaced, and surface water drainage needs to be improved first.
The councillors, who are opposed to the introduction of car parking charges in Almondbury, argue that the council should at least surface the car park and tackle drainage issues before they implement charges.
Clr Davies said: “Despite our best efforts and pressure being placed on the service to tackle drainage at the site to deal with surface water run-off, nothing has been implemented.
“The council has cited a need for a condition survey and feasibility survey to be undertaken in the first instance to also include identification of ownership of each section of land that makes up the site and the potential to mark out lines for parking enforcement purposes.
“Personally, I believe it is simply outrageous for the Cabinet to propose the introduction of parking charges for this car park, when they will not take responsibility for the car park surface water or drainage.”
Clr Munro said: “I understand that different sections of Westgate Car Park are owned by different landowners. However, it is not known who owns a section of the car park that fronts onto 113 and 115 Westgate, which I understand is a former common yard.
“The residents park their cars in front of their homes in this section of the car park site, so where will they park once the charges are introduced and how will this section of the site be managed? How will this be resolved?
“If the council are intent on introducing these charges, they must also provide a surface for vehicles that is suitable for parking, as currently, it is woefully lacking. I hope residents and business owners in Almondbury will respond to the consultation once it goes ‘live.’”
Clr Davies added: “The council has categorically confirmed there are no plans for works to this car park site.
“It seems on the face of it that the Cabinet are happy for the residents to lose the opportunity to park outside their homes on this so-called car park for free – albeit on land outside the council’s remit.”