A review of car parking in Huddersfield town centre has been carried out as part of a planning application for the proposed £210 million Cultural Heart regeneration.
The application is set to be approved by Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee next week but questions have been raised over a lack of car parking.
There are plans to build a new 2,200-capacity concert, conference and events venue on the site of the demolished Market Hall multi-storey car park.
The new building would include a 350-space multi-storey car park below the events space – but a report to the planning committee says that’s not enough at peak times.
The report says 350 spaces would be adequate for daytime events during the week but on an evening or a Saturday, for example, many drivers would have to find somewhere else to park.
A parking review estimates that between 520 and 600 parking spaces would be needed at peak times – and warns demand could be higher if there are separate events happening inside the venue and also outside in the planned outdoor events space.
Councillors will debate plans for the Cultural Heart at a meeting on Thursday March 2. Planning officers are recommending approval, subject to conditions.
Apart from the new events venue, the Cultural Heart plans will see the former Queensgate Market building will become a food hall with an extension to create a new library. Outside there will be a public events space.
A new museum will be created in the existing library building and there will be a new-build art gallery in Queen Street. Shops in the Piazza will be demolished to create an urban park.
On car parking, the planning report says: “The proposed MSCP (multi-storey car park) provides a total of 350 car parking spaces across three levels, including 35 accessible spaces (10%) and 70 spaces with access to electric vehicle charging points (20%). Parking for motorcycles is also provided.
“The 350 parking spaces within the scheme provides sufficient parking to accommodate weekday daytime events, however, for peak events on evenings and weekends at the Venue the MSCP will not be sufficient and additional town centre parking will be required to accommodate parking demand.”
It was calculated that during the daytime on weekdays 250 spaces would be needed but in the evening demand would rise to 520 peaking between 7pm and 10pm.
On Saturdays demand would peak at 600 spaces between 11am and 3pm with a similar number of spaces needed between 7pm and 10pm.
The report warns that larger outdoor events would also require 480 spaces and indoor and outdoor events would have to be co-ordinated to avoid clashes.
“In the unlikely event that events are scheduled at the same time, the Events Management Plan would identify additional off-site parking and the implementation of temporary signing and traffic management to advise drivers where to park and how to access the events,” says the report.
A review of town centre parking identified 13 car parks, four of which are due to close as a result of redevelopment. None were named in the report.
The review found that between 11am and 3pm on weekdays there are forecast to be 109 spaces available across the town centre, the majority in the Kingsgate car park and at the bus station multi-storey.
After 6pm there would be 756 spaces available, which excludes Kingsgate – which closes at 6.30pm – and also Huddersfield Leisure Centre car park, which restricts public parking after 6pm. The majority of spaces would be at Springwood and the bus station.
Between 10am and 4pm on Saturday there would be 565 spaces available across the town centre, mainly Kingsgate, Springwood and the bus station. The car parking assessment did not include on-street parking, which could also accommodate some of the demand.
The report says: “The car parking assessment demonstrates that the new MSCP will provide sufficient parking to accommodate weekday daytime events, however for peak events on evenings and weekends at the Venue the MSCP will not be sufficient and additional town centre parking will be required.
“The parking assessment considers available car parking across the town centre and demonstrates that the forecast scheme parking peak demand can be accommodated. There is a range of parking available across the town centre including on and off-street parking which will give drivers a good choice in terms of location and cost.”