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Plans for large car park near station

From Nicola Jones

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

This time it seems we're now looking to create a car park for 86 vehicles on green belt land with access via a dirt track.

With problems increasing daily, resulting in a collapsed gout as a result of just half a dozen vehicles choosing to designate this as a perfect spot for station 'overflow' car dumping, this is beyond a joke.

The documentation is generally laughable, but the Heritage Statement submitted for this application is the most ridiculous thing I've read in some time.

For anyone who makes use of the footpath, understands the beautiful wildlife corridor that has evolved in the last 30 plus years and cannot understand how or why this continues to even be allowed to be under consideration. Please take the time to add comments to the Calderdale site, before comments close this week.

This land off Mayroyd Lane that's had two other apps in 2010 and 2012. Click here or search for 14/00760/FUL on Calderdale's planning page.

From Kevin S

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Great news we are in desperate need for car parks in Hebden or on the outskirts, All those cars obviously used by commuters parked along mayroyd on week days are accidents waiting to happen. It's just a shame someone cannot take over the clog factory,s old car park and re-open that on a daily basis too. It always seems to be opened on Vintage car rally day so someone obviously has contacts to do this.

From Martin F

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Nicola, I am very grateful to you for pointing out this application. We on The Spinney are the closest residents but we don't seem to have not been consulted about it. I certainly have not been!

I notice that on the 'Application Dates' page of the application the 29th October and 19th November are given as neighbour consultation dates - but we have not been consulted!

I have just 'phoned Calderdale for an explanation and have been told that I will be called back!

I have also just walked home down the station slope and looked at the piece of land in question but could see none of the usual (and required by law?) notifications of an application.

Once again, many many thanks.

From Andy M

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Additional parking would be welcome but this hardly looks the place. Single track road through the stone-yard . . . chaos!

From Catie G

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Hebden is in desperate need of off street car parking and this area is ideal. It will need the access roads upgrading, maybe a 1 way system through Fairfield.

It will not be long before a bad accident is caused by the cars parking on the main road towards Fallingroyd.

If people are against this application maybe then they should recommend another option. After all, most people want cars off the road and public transport used but it seems that people are against using common sense and do not like these types of applications.

This piece of land is standing empty and needs to be used. I don't believe this land is greenbelt. I think if the soil is dug back concrete will be found not far underneath. So I think we should be looking at the application and supporting it.

From Jenny B

Friday, 5 December 2014

Anyone travelling to/from Hebden Bridge must feel that Burnley Road is one big car park. We have a reliable mini bus service that links in with train times, but still people insist on driving to the centre and then park their cars all day - Why?

Instead of building car parks for commuters we should be encouraging alternative ways of travelling.

From Anne Williams

Friday, 5 December 2014

This proposal, if God forbid sucessful, is dangerous to pedestrians, cyclists, horse-riders, animals and the local environment, and it would be generous to only describe it as daft for suggesting so much traffic along the access routes. The access to the proposed car park, through the stone masons yard, or under the railway bridge is not remotely appropriate for increased volumes of traffic. That is pretty apparent.

Quite apart from the state of the track,* it is single lane in most part and narrow even for that, meaning that pedestrians, cyclists etc. are already squeezed by the vehicles that use it. It cannot be easily be widened under the railway bridge or over the river bridge – or probably in other parts. A collision with the railway bridge, which is not a small risk given the traffic movements proposed by this scheme, would mean a closed railway at best.

Likewise the river bridge would be much more vulnerable to collision.
The proposed car park might encourage more car-rail commuting, but since it would make conditions for adults and children who walk and cycle there much worse, it can hardly claim environmental credentials. More than that it will add to the horrible culture that tells children they must not play out and cannot walk safely because we as adults do not care enough to refrain from making tracks and streets dangerous for them.

The alternative is not simple, but is completely possible and involves proper management, public transport, walking and cycling routes and more priority parking for people with mobility difficulties. This alternative would make economic, health and environmental sense – e.g., congestion is economically damaging and reduces the attractiveness of the town centre, pollution from traffic is responsible for extra deaths from cardio-vascular problems (29,000 extra deaths each year in Britain according to Department of Health), and according to the WHO, pollution from diesel causes lung cancer. That's before we get to dangers of collisions - and conversely the much better quality of life possible for adults and children if traffic is reduced.

*The track is not adopted by the council although it is a public right of way - in other words the council do not maintain it. That is probably no bad thing as it discourages vehicle use and the ones that do use it cannot easily drive fast: amyone wanting improved surfaces might be careful what they wish for - I've seen several places where 'improvements' to tracks have been rapidly followed by addition of 'please slow' signs.

From Martin F

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Annie, many thanks for your very sensible and measured contribution, but why (assuming you did not do so by letter) did you not send in a formal objection to the application?

Regarding the fact that traffic pollution is too high, a fact we must all be aware of, why is it not possible to report smoking private vehicles, only commercial ones?

Some time ago I was travelling through a small town in the Keighley area. In front of me was a very old (40+ years) Land Rover from which a constant steam of thick, black, foul-smelling smoke was coming - I felt particularly sorry for a young woman and a child of about 4 who were on the pavement at a narrow part of the road when the vehicle went past - i noted the time, place and vehicle registration number. When I got home I tried to report the matter to VOSA, the council, the police, DVLA (I think that's all). I was told by all of them that I could not report a private vehicle!

From Paul D

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Not required. If the people who commute ever lifted their depressed little tired heads up from their smart phones they'd see brilliant buses connecting the station to everywhere.

Plus it's not brownfield which is why the numerous applications on it have failed.

And the access is over a goit collapse that anyone bored of their fancy phone life could trace back to a rotting waterwheel and wonder why we let what matters fall into ruin and raise the irrelevant into God like status. It's not going to happen. But the cultural and social degeneration of the town will continue apace. Fed by people who think a 50 yard waddle is 49 yards too far.

From Anthony Rae

Saturday, 6 December 2014

As a member of the the former Save Mayroyd Action Group I have submitted objections on the grounds set out below. As I think is reasonably obvious, the access to the site is quite inadequate for precisely the sort of reasons described by Anne Williams.

As for an alternative, there is now a reasonably firm proposal for the station car park to be extended - I think this is programmed for 2016 - and that would allow the cars of commuters parked on the main road to be relocated to where they should be. The station car park ought to have been extended about a decade ago, when detailed plans for this were actually prepared, but then Metro /Network Rail etc failed to deliver. The issue was taken up again by the Hebden Bridge Partnership last year - and also I think independently by Calderdale Council at the same time - and the Partnership has requested Ian Gray, CMBC director of Economy & Environment, to make sure that this time these plans are actually implemented.

Grounds for Objection

"Inadequate and inaccurate information: no analysis of the traffic and other impacts of implementing a very large public car park in this location has been given; and the application form states 86 spaces to be provided but the layout plan has 95 spaces.

"Inadequate access: Mayroyd Lane is a single track, unadopted road which accesses the highway network at the junction with the A646. The number of vehicle movements generated by the car park use could not possibly be accomodated by this unsuitable access. The surface of the carriageway would also deteriorate further by much increased use.

"Road Safety: 1. There will be an increase in movements at the junction with Station Road/A646, with an additional 3rd flow now going to/from Mayroyd Lane, and this would jeopardise junction safety. For example, a queue of cars waiting to exit Mayroyd Lane would block access to those seeking to access the proposed car park from the A646 - because Mayroyd Lane is only single track - thus jamming the junction 2. Mayroyd Lane is used by pedestrians (including walkers accessing the canal towpath) and a relatively small number of operational and residential vehicle movements. The safety of these would be substantially compromised."

From Maureen Brian

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Reading parts of the planning application, I wonder whether the developers have ever been to this site.

What, for instance, is the point of shouting, "Look at us, we'e putting in disabled parking spaces!" when no-one with mobility problems could walk from there into town and the pedestrian route from this proposed car park to the station is near vertical, paved with setts and treacherous in wet / icy weather? They don't mention that.

From Nicola Jones

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Thank you to those who have contributed meaningful comments to this thread. My concern was the lack of publicity surrounding this. Whilst I agree regarding the need for parking, I am delighted at Anthony's contribution, which as ever, is considered and sensible.

Those who do not know the road or the area to which this applies, do not understand the limitations of this thoughtless submission. The residents of Mayroyd have already had to invest considerable personal monies making the road even passable for our own vehicles (since this is a private road). The idea of a continual flow of more is just preposterous.

From Paul Clarke

Sunday, 7 December 2014

I had hoped we had got past needless abuse of commuters who now make up a significant proportion of our community.

I should declare an interest as I am one of those commuters but I am far from depressed or tired. In fact when I step off the train I can actually feel the weight of the day lift off my shoulders as I alight.

I'm sure Paul would love us to go back to the Victorian times when people lived near the mills they worked in being exploited by the ruling class. But things change and thank god they have.

These days highly trained specialists like me have to commute as they are no jobs round here in what I do.

The thing that unites us is we earn money that we bring back into our community spending our ill gotten gains in local shops, paying council taxes to support local services and taxes to support those in our community who need it. Maybe Paul benefits from that but from my point of view at least it is money well spent.

Of course if Paul joined our commuting community he would be able to see our comrades getting off trains to get on buses, getting lifts from family, jumping on bikes or - shock horror - walking more than fifty yards like I do some days.

I must confess I do drive to the station if I am getting an early train but as I pay over £1400 a year for my ticket then parking is a welcome perk. I try to off set my carbon footprint by recycling as much as I can.

I would reject the hysterical idea that driving to the station is somehow heralding the end of our town as we know it. We are not going back any time soon to pony and traps so we do need to consider if the current parking provision is adequate for the reality of modern day transportation.

I always defer to Anthony Rae's views on this as he has put forward a lucid case against this plan based on planning regs rather than prejudice.

I hope we can have a mature debate about car parking provision at the station without resorting to insulting stereotypes about people who make a massive contribution to our town.

From Lesley Jones

Sunday, 7 December 2014

A closer look at the application form shows up a couple of very interesting facts.

The proposal includes the employment of two full time members of staff. In the absence of any other information we have to assume that these are on site staff. Opening hours 6am to 10pm. So this is not going to be pay and display. Employing staff comes at a considerable cost. This would indicate that the parking charges would need to be far in excess of current daily car park charges in the centre of town. So is this really going to reduce parking on Burnley Road? Which is currently free? Probably not. As someone said earlier on in this thread. Whilst parking for the station is in dire need of improvement, think very carefully about what you wish for with this proposal. Certainly much more detail needs to be available about the plans for ongoing management of this facility.

And do Revegate really not know who owns this land?

Returning to planning grounds for objection. The proposed access road is a private single track for most of it's length and any car park facility would need two way access. The track is already used daily by residents of Mayroyd Mill, Wood Top and Fairfield. All of whom now regularly have to reverse or give way (if possible) at each end. This track is completely unsuitable for any additional vehicle movements.

I also endorse the previous comment re disability access - the slope to the station is hard enough for able bodied people, especially in winter, for others it will be impossible. The same is true for the badly lit Mayroyd Lane, the surface of which is in very poor condition and is completely unaccessible by wheelchair or by those of limited mobility.

These comments do not take into account resultant traffic issues on Palace House Road which also need to be considered.

From Anne Williams

Sunday, 7 December 2014

In response to Lesley's comment regarding land ownership: I vaguely recall someone who had done a Land Registry search telling me that that site, much of Mayroyd Lane and the stone masons yard is registered to a holding company in Gibraltar (don't known if this is Revegate or someone related). Apparently the company had only registered 'possessory title'. This rather suggests they don't have good documented title to all the land.

From Tim M

Monday, 8 December 2014

I agree that much of this application is weak - but if as everyone seems to demand the town needs more car parking then (perhaps with improved access arrangements) this isn't such a bad idea - not just commuters (I walk to the station) but also weekend visitors? Perhaps as part of changes elsewhere in town (I can't be the only one time have enjoyed the closure of Old Gate - what a lovely riverside promenade it could make) Mind if I lived at Mayroyd I'd object.

From Nicola Jones

Monday, 8 December 2014

As per Anthony's response - the town is 'on' with it. This has been under discussion with various, reputable town groups for the last decade, but its not a simple issue and requires fully thought through and feasible solutions. This is not 'needed' in that location, in the main, due to insurmountable access issues.

Alternatively, they could always pay off the residents of Mayroyd Cottage and House plus the Stonemasons, maybe knock those down, so vehicles can actually pass. Perhaps, create a small A road leading over a brand new constructed /widened 'Millennium' bridge and same for the bridge forming the station underpass, coming the other way from Palace House Road, fix the collapsed goit, sort out the flooding issues and then look at how we alter the traffic signals on Burnley Road to cope with the increase in turning traffic for 90 plus vehicles on and off during the course of the day. Oh and let's not forget the point that this is potentially to resolve commuters trying to get out of Hebden Bridge, up the dodgy steep incline, on the already rammed trains, that are frequently already at standing point at our station before anyone's set off. Alll of this then needs to make sure we don't alter the biosphere, to preserve the now active otter population; bats; heron and other great wildlife that have only just re-established there.

Given, we're only just managing to make significant discussions around disabled access to Platform 2 in 12 years of me living here (which incidentally is needed, if only for those trying to carry luggage and children, plus the obvious requirements of the less able). The cost of all of the above is more akin to HS2 than the issues we have regarding parking in Hebden Bridge.

Apart from that, yeah it's a great idea.

From Anthony Rae

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Tim M says 'as everyone seems to demand the town needs more car parking then (perhaps with improved access arrangements) this isn't such a bad idea'. In addition to Nicola's comments as to what such 'improved access arrangements' might involve, let's add a little bit more on the 'everyone seems to demand the town needs more car parking' point, as follows:

  • It's relatively simple (for motorists, usually) to 'demand' more parking wherever, but in a location like Hebden it's not so easy to respond to that demand - because of the restricted nature of the space we have available - and also allowing for the fact that i) demand will then continue to expand in step with supply; ii) that more parking will increase the pressures on an already crowded A646 in order to get the cars in and out; and iii) that more parking isn't necessarily the sort of sustainable transport we need for the future. People continue to come forward with proposals for new large car parks - whether here on Mayroyd, or in multistories on the Market Place site, or at the station, or previously on Garden Street - without seeing that for a number of reasons, whether it's access, or technical or financial viability, they simply don't work. Likewise a large park-and-ride car park at the Walkley's Clogs site also won't work, because the access over Carr Lane bridge is substandard, it's too far from the town centre, and it wouldn't be financially viable.
  • The problem with these so-called 'solutions' therefore is that they are diversions from the alternative, more sustainable, approach; both to parking and access to the town more widely. For parking this involves two actions: a reasonable expansion of surface parking at the right location, where this is possible and also where it's needed (that is, at the station) so that it can also contribute to the formation of an integrated transport hub for the town as a whole; and secondly a more sophisticated approach towards the management of our existing parking stock which keeps under review not just the physical number of spaces but also the charge per hour, the length of stay, effective signing and so forth. By adjusting the relationship between these parameters it is possible to keep supply and demand for parking - which is dynamic and constantly changing - broadly in equilibrium but, despite urging from me to both the Town Council and Calderdale Council, there has been no such review for Hebden in almost a decade.
  • This exposes the town and its retail and economic base to substantial vulnerabilities. One of the difficulties with the Sainsbury's planning application was that – as I pointed out on Hebweb here - the town's nett parking stock following a Sainsbury's approval and loss of spaces on that site would decrease by -8% nett (or 29 spaces), and -16% (60 spaces) on market days, against the situation in 2009, whilst the number of cars (in Britain) seeking to park has increased by +3%. If this were to occur there is a reasonably obvious potential for economic damage and disrupted journeys. Consequently the Hebden Bridge Partnership has recently suggested to the Town Council that they take on a more proactive role in reviewing parking provision. The reason why this doesn't happen is that managing the above parking 'parameters' will sometimes involve recommending an increase in parking charges - just to keep them in line with inflation, or to rebalance supply and demand, at the margin - and this is apparently politically 'difficult'.
  • I think it would be better if instead of implying that car access to the town was the most important mode of transport - which therefore had to be catered for as a matter of absolute priority - we took a more balanced view that access by train, bus, cycling and walking was just as important, if not more so, and is inherently more sustainable. I hope that in the discussions about our proposed Neighbourhood Plan which will take place over the next 1-2 years, we'll be able to have a well-informed but more realistic debate on these issues.

From Pedro de Wit

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Anthony's response might be detailed but it is a one-sided view dressed up in a lot of fancy words. His claim that the solutions proposed in the past won't work is completely unsubstantiated, not to mention the fact that he knows what sort of transport we need for the future. Reading between the blur his solution basically comes down to increasing parking charges.

Of course we need to improve the provisions for walking, cycling or taking the bus into town. No one is disputing this. The fact however is that we live in the 'now' and not in the future. Many many people visit Hebden Bridgen by car, especially in December, and by doing so keep the economy going. Also for residents that live on the hillsides or are less mobile it is completely impractical to walk, cycle or take public transport into the center of the town. Maybe Anthony can put a proposal together for some ski lifts but as long as these are not installed the car will stay vitally important for our town and therefore we should improve parking facilities.

From Ian M

Friday, 12 December 2014

I'm not convinced a new car park would solve the problem of vehicles being parked on the main road towards Halifax.

I travel this route daily before 7am and there are already a number of cars parked on this route at that time. Now either the station car park is already full or these cars belong to people who don't want to queue to get out of the station, preferring to make a quick getaway.

From Anthony Rae

Friday, 12 December 2014

As well as asking Pedro de Wit to reread my comment (which is, he maintains, 'a one-sided view dressed up in a lot of fancy words ') a little more thoughtfully, maybe I should provide him with some additional information. I assume the 'one-sided view' he accuses me of promoting is opposing large scale car park expansion. Except that the person who led the work (on behalf of the former Traffic Review around a decade ago) to expand the station car park by up to 125 spaces was . . . me, as he can read here, from 2007; I did the same again when the Hebden Bridge Partnership undertook its 2020 Vision strategy in 2012; and all this within the context of thinking about how expansion at that location could contribute to managing parking supply and demand for the town as a whole: relocating some of the longstay demand, and also some peak period demand, at the periphery eases pressure on shortstay spaces in the town centre, which are needed for just the sort of regional and local trips he identifies. My understanding is that the new station proposals (which I have not seen) will be for the smaller of the 2007 options - an increase of some 60 spaces - but if it is implemented in the next two years will represent a significant incremental addition, and in the right location.

The only other proposal – in addition to the current Mayroyd scheme - for large scale expansion was Garden Street – described from the start by Calderdale Council's Traffic Review consultant as not technically or financially viable; advice which was unfortunately then ignored both by the developer and another part of the council supporting that scheme – and look what difficulties that got us into. Pedro himself understood this in 2008 when, opposing Garden Street, he wrote 'the only sensible way to provide carparking is to use the space that is available on the edge of the town', which is where the station is; and he also favoured 'maximising the use of the current Garden Street space' – for which at the time I brought forward a detailed proposal involving changes to length of stay but also 'increasing parking charges'.

The lesson from all this, and the history of parking in the town over the last decade and more, is that individual parking ideas or schemes have to be brought forward within the context of an overall parking strategy for the town, which in turn has to be 'nested' within a sustainable transport approach that tries to keep the split between the various modes in the right balance; and that this strategy has to deploy the complete kit of tools available (not just one - physical expansion of the number of spaces - and yes also including increased charges where necessary), applied dynamically with the objective of balancing supply and demand. Hebden's parking strategy was half provided by the Traffic Review, but has then been forgotten and is lying dormant and unimplemented; I drew attention to the dangers this creates. Within this context my judgement has been that large scale expansion at Garden Street wasn't, and Mayroyd isn't, viable but that medium scale expansion at the station would be but only the context of a coherent overall parking strategy.

So that's my approach, which Pedro thinks is just so many 'fancy words'. He maintains that on the contrary 'we should improve parking facilities'. Maybe he in turn can explain what exactly he means by that, and how he would do it, and where?

From Pedro de Wit

Friday, 12 December 2014

Anthony, I agree with your statement that car park expansion at the station is needed. Ideally this expansion would be 'large scale', but if this is not possible than I guess 'medium scale' is better than nothing. However a medium scale expansion will only alleviate the parking problem and not solve it. The other measures you mention seem aimed at stopping people from using their car by making it more difficult or more expensive to park. To me this is more of a political choice than an actual solution to the problem.

There is a widespread belief that increasing the cost of driving and parking is essential to deter people from getting into their cars. At the same time it is usually assumed that somehow not getting into the car makes those people then choose to walk, take the bus or cycle. I find this to be a rather strange belief. I for myself can afford to drive and park a car but prefer to cycle or walk whenever possible because I enjoy it. I don't think I am the only one with that attitude.

My choice to cycle for example has never been about saving money. I ride my bike because it is often more convenient and because I find cycling a pleasant activity. When people find cycling convenient and pleasant they will make the choice to leave the car at home. The same goes for walking and taking the bus. No-one needs to be forced to do something that they like to do anyway. Therefore I support attempts to improve access for cyclist and pedestrians into the town but I don't think it is good to 'punish' drivers by making parking more difficult or expensive in order to force them to choose an alternative.

As long as conditions for cycling or walking are unpleasant along the access routes to our town people will continue to pay to park their cars almost regardless of how much it costs. It will take extremely high prices to force people to stop driving and instead do something that they think is dangerous and unpleasant. The worst side effect of this political strategy whereby the main solution to deter people is increasing prices is that it impacts harder on those whose wallets are less full.

Charging for parking has become such a common evil that people have stopped questioning why it is necessary in the first place. It would be nice if the charges were decided on grounds other than that some members of a group representing a small minority perhaps do not like cars but I am not convinced that this is the case.

To answer your question how I would improve parking facilities - I like to see a large scale car park or several medium size car parks at both sides of our town. From these car parks good walking/cycling routes could be created leading into the center. During busy times there could also be a shuttle bus. I am aware that it is difficult to find locations and that it will be expensive. However you have to aim for a 'gold plated' solution. Anything less will still cost money and do nothing to solve the problem.

Mayroyd Mill is a location that could be used for a medium sized car park if access is improved. If the development of this car park is paid for by a private developer than obviously the developer must think that there is sufficient demand to warrant the cost. I prefer it if car parks are council owned and the profits go back into the community. However if the council has no money or inclination to develop car parks on the outskirts of Hebden Bridge than I welcome private initiatives.

From Tim M

Friday, 12 December 2014

Something that's not figured in this is the changes this year to the bus service - a much more frequent service along the A646 together with the excellent TLC minibus service - most of which seem to run by the station. This has certainly reduced our car journeys. But as part of an overall scheme could open the way to a park and ride (for visitors?) at an alternative site - perhaps Walkleys, or (council owned?) land adjacent? I think people are increasingly comfortable with park and ride - and the drive round Hebden looking for a space in one of the many small and awkward car parks is not an attraction.

There is a balance to be made and the car does overwhelm central HB - off-centre parking is the solution I believe. Whether or not at Mayroyd.

From Adrian Riley

Friday, 12 December 2014

The stretch where all the cars park on the main road is the 40mph zone. On the canal side of the road there appears to be a cycle-lane, separated from the carriageway by a white line. This is not marked as a cycle-lane and was never intended to be one, yet motorists expect cyclists to remain behind the line.

About 20 years ago all this length had test boring machines sampling soil stability on the canal edge of road. Following this the white line appeared, not for a cycle lane (which isn't wide enough to function as one) but to keep heavy vehicles away from what is potentially an unstable edge.

With the parked cars on one side, an unsuitable 'cycle lane' on the other and oncoming vehicles often on the wrong side of road, it is a hazard for cyclists.

Highways should widen this into an official cycle-lane and stop the dangerous ambiguity that exists at present. The 40mph limit needs reducing to 30mph to recognise inherent dangers.

From Anne Williams

Saturday, 13 December 2014

If anyone had residual belief that there is appropriate access for a Mayroyd car park, they might take a walk down there now. Yesterday a moorhen was seen there – happily swimming along the waterway that the track becomes after rain. Still I think better to have moorhens and water, than a load of traffic there.

Adrian, thanks for explaining about the white line on the main road. I have wondered about that as it never seemed right as a cycle lane.

From Martin F

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Pedro: Your comment "Mayroyd Mill is a location that could be used for a medium sized car park if access is improved." in your last post.

Please read the second paragraph of Nicola Jones' post of the 8th and let us know who is going to pay for all that.

From Anthony Rae

Saturday, 13 December 2014

I thank Pedro for his suggestions and here are my comments on what he has written:

"There is a widespread belief that increasing the cost of driving and parking is essential to deter people from getting into their cars. At the same time it is usually assumed that somehow not getting into the car makes those people then choose to walk, take the bus or cycle. I find this to be a rather strange belief."

This is not what I wrote about or indeed believe. However it is the case that, as you'd expect, the cost of all modes of travel influences how much they are used, and as you can see here it's the cost of public transport that has risen far faster than that of motoring, which for decades has actually not increased at all in absolute terms. In recent years fuel duty has been reduced and now petrol prices are falling. What this means is that people are being priced off public transport and into cars, increasing congestion and . . . pressure on parking spaces.

"Charging for parking has become such a common evil that people have stopped questioning why it is necessary in the first place. It would be nice if the charges were decided on grounds other than that some members of a group representing a small minority perhaps do not like cars …"

Now this is 'a strange belief' and one which ignores the most basic economics, and politics. A parking charge is just a rental payment to occupy a piece of ground for a length of time. It's essential that a charge is made for it otherwise the landowner wouldn't make it available, and the spaces would be used for economically inefficient parking. It is not part of the statutory duties of local authorities to provide car parks; if they do, all the citizens of their area shouldn't have to subsidise this service from their council tax. But that's actually what has happened in recent years because Calderdale Council's parking budget has been running at a substantial loss, which the present council in a time of cuts to other services has decided to make even worse by removing existing charges from some car parks. (In Brighouse and Todmorden, mind you, but not Hebden Bridge – which was just arbitrary. I asked a question at Cabinet about this and got no coherent answer.)

So what Pedro's "I prefer it if car parks are council owned and the profits go back into the community' actually means is '… and the losses are paid for by the community". And in terms of people 'playing politics with parking charges', it's been in favour of motorists, and against council tax payers.

"I like to see a large scale car park or several medium size car parks at both sides of our town. … During busy times there could also be a shuttle bus. I am aware that it is difficult to find locations and that it will be expensive. However you have to aim for a 'gold plated' solution. Anything less will still cost money and do nothing to solve the problem."

So just two questions: where precisely will these several car parks be located i.e on which landowners' property; and who is going to pay for all this, if you think that the motorists themselves shouldn't?

And similarly: "Mayroyd Mill is a location that could be used for a medium sized car park if access is improved." So how exactly do you think the access can be improved, since it's a single track unadopted road? Earlier postings have described in some detail precisely why it cannot be improved, and equally the developer hasn't proposed to do or pay for this either (indeed hasn't bothered to include a transport assessment with their application, demonstrating that they don't even acknowledge the issue).

Until you answer these quite specific questions then you've apparently fallen prey – as have car drivers in general - to an unrealistic expectation born of a false sense of entitlement that it's somebody else's responsibility to solve the problem that motorists – all 32 million of them, and rising - have created for themselves by setting out on a journey by car and then just expecting to be able to temporarily abandon their vehicle when they reach their destination. In some places there is both the space and the financial incentive for that problem to be solved for them by the provision of 'ample parking'. But that's not the situation (and I generalise) here in Hebden Bridge and consequently – and I repeat – it's why we need a relatively sophisticated strategy that tries to reconcile all these pressures in the most sustainable way.

Anything else and the 'problem of parking' you're concerned about will just get worse.

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Demolish the old Walkley's mill, use the land to create a safe junction with the A646, build a better bridge over the river, and use as landscaped parking the long strip of land from there to the station. Don't even think about access via Mayroyd or Fairfield.

That brings back into use two substantial assets that are otherwise near-unexploitable - a crumbling mill too near a main road for normal development, and a conveniently flat strip of industrial wasteland at too much flood risk for housing.

Shuttle buses, taxis, hire bicycles or feet could serve both Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. There could be a walkers' centre. It could be a destination in its own right. I can see the brochure now.

I accept it's easy to make mincemeat of that idea by simply asking, 'Where's the money going to come from?' But the same question was presumably asked in the 1980s about reopening the canal at Walkley's and in the centre of Sowerby Bridge. The long-term benefit was recognised, so it happened.

A Walkley's solution would be straightforward in engineering terms, and where else has the potential to solve Hebden's parking capacity problem so effectively? It couldn't happen overnight, but there could at least be some movement towards that as an eventual solution say ten years down the line.

And without such a solution? Even if the station car park is expanded, that extra capacity won't last long and many drivers will still park on the A646 as long as it's free and less of a gamble than the station car park.

In the town centre, I'd say that short-stay parking is just about adequate for nine months of the year. But no amount of fiddling with parking tariffs will meet a growing longer-stay demand from two-way commuters and from tourists and coach operators, especially on special event days.

If, as seems on the cards, fuel prices start dropping faster than train and bus fares, demand for both casual and all day parking could rise rapidly. So objections and apparent difficulties notwithstanding, I don't see any better long-term solution than opening up the land between Walkley's and the station.

From Felicia J

Sunday, 14 December 2014

My understanding has always been that the land between the station, Mayroyd and along the river towards Walkleys Clogs has been designated as a boundary area to prevent Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge merging together in urban sprawl. There have been historically several applications of various kinds relating to this area that were turned down. This last area close to Hebden, seems to the developers to still be up for grabs, to be made to pay its and their way. A huge car park placed there would be a complete eyesore and however many spaces were provided they would eventually not be sufficient as I think Anthony Rae has said, hence the need for a different approach. What area of land would be next if this went; the park? I think the natural environment and the potential loss of visual amenity in this "boundary" area are of far more importance than the "right" to park cars. I can guess the response of others will be to say it is not completely natural land having been used in the past but hey we have to work with wha'ts left or soon nothing will be.

From Anthony Rae

Monday, 15 December 2014

Let's continue with this discussion about 'the problem of parking' since (as I mentioned in my 2nd post on this thread) the topic will certainly feature in discussions over the next 1-2 years on our proposed Neighbourhood Plan. So far the various suggestions have in fact been looking backwards into Hebden's recent past (also providing me with a little wander down memory lane) whereas what we need to do is think about our options a decade or so into the future.

A common thread running through the Hebden development schemes that have all proved controversial is that they have suffered from 'gigantism'; examples would be the multiple apartment blocks of the Crows Nest Wood and Browns Site (one before last) applications, Garden Street, the Mayroyd applications of the 1990s. They were all proposing that what Hebden needed was more … apartments, cars and traffic, parking spaces, tourists, whatever; the town just had to Think Big! The contrary school of thought (which I happen to support) says the opposite: Think Small and recognise the realities of scale. Hebden is ultimately a small Yorkshire market town and probably has to remain so because of the constraints of topography and access that are an essential component of its unique character. All the developers proposing those Big Schemes did not succeed with their planning applications – which is probably telling us something – and yet the town hasn't done too badly in their absence, and instead has gone in the opposite direction: keeping the car in check with pedestrianisation.

Graham proposes 'building a better bridge over the river [near to Walkely's Clogs, having demolished the mill to overcome the existing poor access] and use as landscaped parking the long strip of land from there to the station'. This is in essence the Mark Clyndes concept for Mayroyd in the 1990s - his proposal was for the comprehensive commercial development of the entire site, which would be needed to pay for the associated infrastructure including two new bridges. It went to public inquiry (where I did the evidence against) and the inspector threw the scheme out. Subsequently Mayroyd was put into Green Belt to keep Hebden and Mytholmroyd from coalescing, but it's true that in some circumstances you can use Green Belt land for parking - indeed the existing (and now disused) Walkley's car park is just that - and putting both these sites together there's probably room for approx. 400 spaces. Add on the 60 proposed spaces at the station itself, and the 175 approved spaces on the Brown's site (for the supermarket + hotel) on the other side of town, and that totals around 600+ potential additional parking spaces, compared to the existing parking stock of around 400, on- and off-street.

So . . . let's Think Big again! More than double the town's parking stock! Turn the Green Belt of Mayroyd into a massive car park Grey Belt! Jam the A646 solid with all these additional cars (the Brown's site traffic assessment forecast 30% traffic growth with its new developments in just 7 years)! The question is: Is this a desirable future for the town? Fortunately the 'giant Mayroyd car park' scheme won't happen for at least 3 reasons: the ground is unstable and polluted (so would cost even more to make useable); parking alone wouldn't generate enough income to pay for the infrastructure, because for most of the day and year almost all the spaces would be empty; and the new bridge would - like Mr Clynde's bridge beforehand - be declared to have an unacceptable adverse impact on the Green Belt and be refused. So, as with Pedro's suggestions, or with the Garden Street development, the contradictions within these big schemes causes them to collapse. They were Thinking Too Big.

As an alternative we could Think Small and Think Sustainable. Secure some incremental increases to the parking stock if a site in the right location can be found; the station is the best bet, but remember that scheme has yet to get planning permission. Increase the efficient use of the existing stock with careful and regular adjustments to length of stay and charges; in 2008 I demonstrated how a large number of additional shortstay parking 'opportunities' could be squeezed out of the existing Garden Street spaces. And increase as well the number and proportion of people coming to Hebden by modes other than car: public transport, cycle and walking. Not as grandiose a project but many of its elements are much quicker, easier and cheaper to achieve.

I suspect some of the debate around the Neighbourhood Plan will be between these opposing 'visions for the future' – Think Big, or Think Small and Sustainable – so it's useful to explore both of them now.

From Martin F

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Now that this ridiculous application has now been withdrawn, on behalf of myself and other residents of Hebden Bridge who would not have known about it without her post of the 4th, I would once again like to thank Nicola for bringing it to our attention.

As Mrs Williams said in her objection of the 8th, I too did not see the usual planning application notice anywhere near the site. When I told this to the planning department I was assured that a notice had been posted. It thus seems that someone had removed it. I wonder who?

From Paul D

Saturday, 20 December 2014

As previously stated this was never going to happen. But let's not allow reality (and speculative property developers) from stopping the usual reams of self regarding pseudo environmentalism being offered up.

The station has a free car park. Calderdale built another close by that costs all of 1.50 to use all day On street free parking is available within a 3 minute walk (Fairfield). There is an excellent subsidised bus network right outside, or a reasonable 250 metres away. Rail fares are substantially subsidised by non rail users.

Can we please have less whinging and carping from the most pampered residents who through lifestyle choice, not necessity, decide to work an hour or more from where they live?

From Nicola Jones

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Thanks Martin. Whilst I'm not as active as I once was in these things, I'm always grateful for the forum and Chris Ratcliffe's great work in keeping this site updated.

I'm obviously delighted to see the application withdrawn, despite no response when contacting the Planning Team direct to keep me informed.

I will be writing to make a formal complaint and raising a serious concern about the administration of the application. Along with the Heritage Statement, which was borderline fraudulent, I was deeply concerned by the slapdash environmental response from Diane Marsh - "I am not overly concerned with noise from the development effecting [sic] the residential properties in particular those opposite at Mayroyd Mill, as planning approval 02/00869/CON condition 6 requires them to have reasonable sound insulation. Furthermore, vehicle noise was not raised as concern from ourselves for the 2009 planning application for residential development at this site."

This rural spot would be completely overwhelmed by such an intrusion. Seriously, how these people gain any level of responsibility is staggering. Anyway, it's concluded, for the moment. I expect a further application will find its way to Calderdale before long. We need to ensure these things do not slip through by stealth, since the proper procedures seem to rarely be followed to the letter.

From George Murphy

Saturday, 20 December 2014

First of all, congratulations to Nicola and others for pointing out the flaws in this application. Now that it has been withdrawn, could I ask readers for advice on the lesser, but still important matter of the collapsed goit?

Many readers will have seen the widening hole which could soon affect access to Mayroyd Lane and the viability of the Stonemason business.
I believe that the lane from Station Road, through the stonemasons' yard, over Crow Nest bridge and onto the hillside is an ancient highway. I think these are covered by legislation put in place by the previous government and are termed Byways Open to All Traffic (Boat). Does this legislation empower councils to act in a circumstance such as this, where it would seem that a utility company is failing to maintain an ancient culvert? Apart from affecting the traffic worthiness of the byway, the hole now presents a potentially dangerous hazard. Large stone laden vehicles cross over this collapsed goit at regular intervals.

Are councillors aware of this hazard and are they using the powers they have? Do readers have experience of effective action to protect and maintain ancient but unadopted byways? I guess that the legislation on ancient routes (including canals) is much looser than that for adopted highways and for railways, but do we have to wait for an accident to occur before action is taken?