Senior councillors have insisted there are more than enough car parking spaces in Huddersfield town centre despite claims that people are struggling to park.
Kirklees Council has ditched plans to create a temporary car park on the site of the demolished Market Hall multi-storey saying it wouldn’t provide value for money for taxpayers.
The original plan was to use 115 of the 518 spaces previously provided in the Alfred Street multi-storey but the council now says it would cost too much for a temporary car park that would soon be built on.
Clr Adam Gregg (Con, Lindley) raised questions at a meeting of the council’s ruling Cabinet. He asked if there was “ample car parking” in Huddersfield town centre and also asked what the council was doing to make up for the loss of the promised temporary spaces.
In reply Clr Naheed Mather, Cabinet member for environment, said: “There is plenty of car parking in our town centre in the immediate vicinity of where car parking has been taken away. Members of the public are signposted to all the car parking facilities in the town centre.”
Clr Gregg said he was “astonished” that Clr Mather thought there was enough car parking and said he had been down to the council’s current temporary car park on the site of the old Huddersfield Sports Centre in Old Leeds Road.
He said the council had promised 166 spaces yet he counted only 79. That temporary car park, he said, had cost £230,000.
Clr Gregg also asked when bollards and “scruffy” planters would be removed from Cloth Hall Street to restore on-street parking.
Clr Mather said the council wanted more people to use public transport or “walk in” and the Cloth Hall Street parking wouldn’t be coming back.
On why the Queensgate temporary car park had been scrapped, Clr Mather said: “It’s not just about the cost it’s about how temporary it is and whether the public would be willing for us to use public money on a temporary measure. The cost is substantial.”
Clr John Taylor (Con, Kirkburton) took up the questioning and said: “Clr Mather has said twice now said she thinks there is adequate car parking in the town centre. Do we have an evidence base for that?
“What I pick up on the doorstep is that people are stopping travelling into Huddersfield because they find it difficult to find somewhere to park. I hear what you say about public transport and active travel but I represent a ward that’s not well served by public transport.
“What’s your evidence base that tells you we have adequate parking in Huddersfield town centre?”
Clr Mather said she didn’t have the statistics to hand but could provide them later.
“There’s abundant car parking facilities available,” she added: “I will write and give you the evidence you have asked for.”