A councillor has warned that introducing charges in free car parks in Honley and Meltham is a recipe for chaos – and a disaster for businesses.

Holme Valley North Independent councillor Charles Greaves has petitions running in both villages and says Kirklees Council’s plan to end free parking across all 57 of its car parks is “ill thought out.”

Clr Greaves said: “Like most residents and businesses I am opposed to Kirklees bringing in parking charges to Honley and Meltham.

“Whilst I can see the benefits of bringing in a modest charge for towns like Batley, in Honley and Meltham it will either cause traffic mayhem with people parking anywhere and everywhere to avoid paying £6.50 to park all day, or it will drive people out of the villages to retail parks and supermarkets.

“It is an ill thought out idea, and whilst there are issues with parking, we actually need more off-street parking not charges.

“Kirklees can’t even say if bringing in charges to Honley and Meltham will even generate a surplus – after the costs of setting up charges and then managing the collection and enforcement it may even be at a loss – but the impact will be felt.

“There are a few people who think charges will help by raising money to be used in the villages but even if it does generate a small surplus all of that money will go off to Kirklees to be spent somewhere else.

“It will just suck tens of thousands of pounds out of the local economy whilst damaging our high streets.”

Kirklees Council is to raise existing on-street parking charges – by the rate of inflation back-dated to 2009 – from Monday February 19 and has said it will launch a consultation on introducing charges for free car parks before the end of February.

Answering a question from Clr Greaves at full council, Cabinet member for highways Clr Aafaq Butt said: “We are yet to confirm what car parks will become chargeable, remain free or otherwise.”

He said when the consultation was launched it would be advertised with notices placed on car parks.

Clr Greaves said copies of the petition were in most shops and cafes.