Councillors say parking charges outside a Huddersfield church are a “tax on worship.”

Kirklees Council has imposed an increase in on-street parking charges in Huddersfield town centre and that has impacted on St Patrick’s Church.

The church is on the junction of New North Road and Castlegate where charges have just gone up from £2.50 for up to five hours to £4.10 or £6.50 for all day. On Sundays it will cost £1.60 per visit.

Lindley Liberal Democrat councillors Cahal Burke, Anthony Smith and newly-elected Ashleigh Robinson have been contacted by members of the congregation and are urging the council to think again.

Members at the Roman Catholic church say they had just five days to lodge appeals against the decision.

It follows the recent demolition of the derelict Huddersfield Technical College which meant that members of St Patrick’s Church lost access to a 150-space car park, which was used by church members for funerals and services.

Clr Burke said: “St Patrick’s Church is a place of worship serving residents in several wards across Kirklees. This includes Lindley residents, many of whom have contacted us to express concern about the new parking charges.

“We understand the council’s financial situation and need to increase its income. We know that car parking charges have remained unchanged since 2009.



“We have listened to the administration argue that the new tariffs are fair and will mean that car parking charges will rise by the rate of inflation and will be comparable with other regional local authorities.

“However, we believe that the new car parking tariffs are excessive. In the case of St Patrick’s Church, for instance, it will affect the church members, many of whom are pensioners. Public transport is not a practical option for many of the members.

“The new parking charges will particularly affect members attending weekday masses, as well as the 5.30pm Saturday evening vigil mass. It will also affect mourners attending funerals conducted by the church.

“The new parking charges are unreasonable. It’s effectively a tax on worship.”

His ward colleague Clr Smith said: “The car parking spaces are generally never used by anyone except members of St Patrick’s Church. The parking outside the church includes long-stay bays.

“Church members have suggested that the issue could be resolved by changing the parking bays from ‘long-stay’ to ‘short-stay’ as services are generally less than two hours and often less than an hour. This would make it much more affordable.

“We would ask that the administration try to find a solution that helps the council to increase its income but is also fair and proportionate.

“The council is responsible for providing car parking spaces which meet the needs of different users, including residents, shoppers, commuters and visitors.”

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Clr Robinson said: “If it is not possible to abolish charges outside places of worship, the administration should at least consider the needs of the users and consider some of the suggestions by the church members, such as creating ‘short-stay’ parking bays.

“We understand the need for the council to make tough decisions but the council should also be practical and empathetic and accommodate the needs of church members who simply want to attend worship.”