Liberal Democrat councillors have written to Kirklees Council leader Cathy Scott urging her to think again over parking charges for Lindley which they say could decimate the village.

The council is to end free parking across the district from January 2024 with charges to be imposed on currently free car parks including Lidget Street Car Park in the centre of Lindley.

Councillors Cahal Burke and Anthony Smith have signed a joint letter warning parking charges will be “hugely damaging” for Lindley and would put shops and small businesses at risk.

The letter says: “Several businesses in the village have already expressed concern about the proposed charges. Lindley is host to a huge range of quality small independent businesses but car parking charges will have a negative impact and is likely to result in some of our shops being forced to close down permanently.

“We also believe that the introduction of the charges will probably be an economic self-defeat, as any gains will be negated by the loss in business rates revenue as a result of the shop closures. It will actually be counter-productive for the council.”

The councillors point out that poor public transport connections mean many people have no choice but to use their car.

They also warn that drivers will park in residential streets, such as Thomas Street and Brian Street, to avoid charges which would cause further problems for local residents.

Clr Yusra Hussain, Cabinet member for culture and greener Kirklees, said: “The council is continuing to review fees and charges across all services, this is to enable us to produce a balanced budget in February.

“Parking charges have remained static for the last 14 years but due to the current financial climate, we are unable to hold price increases any longer.

“Fee increases are not a decision we make lightly and, while we appreciate that an increase in parking charges will not be welcome news, we will be launching a statutory consultation in the form of a Traffic Regulatory Order (TRO) with a 21-day feedback period.

“We will then listen to the feedback and make a decision that is right for each area at a local level. The TRO will be out for consultation in the coming weeks.

“Free, timed on-street spaces across the borough will not be affected by the proposals, so there will still be free parking available for those wishing to visit our towns and villages.”