From Penny T
No one in this forum has mentioned that to gain the extra 29 parking spaces on Station Road, 'A limited number of small trees will be removed to the boundary adjoining the adjacent gas station site and a mature tree will be removed in order to better realign the footpath as it enters the park.'
If this were the actions of a developer or organisation, there would be uproar about the felling of a mature tree.
From Joseph S
In so much that this is a far more environmentally friendly solution to the perceived parking problem than Garden Street. Not 100% perfect but 100 times more practical.
From Andrew Hall
What I can't understand about the whole parking issue is the lack of discussion about the coal merchant's site adjacent to the railway station car park. As my picture shows the area involved is substantial, certainly trebling, if not quadrupling, the existing car parking capacity at the station. A footbridge at the Western end would give very good access to the town centre.
Penny, the mature tree is a bent disfigured sycamore and probably should be removed on health and safety grounds, irrespective of any development of the site.
The site you identify is the one which the Traffic Review process took into a meeting with Metro and the railway organisations more than three years ago. They said they would produce a business plan within two months and since then, despite continued inquiries from me about progress up to Assistant Director level, they have achieved precisely nothing.
The layouts which have been prepared show that the whole site could provide up to 125 spaces, available for dual use: commuters and maybe some longstay for the town during the week, and overflow for visitors at weekends. The intention also was to provide coach parking as well, so that the station area could act as a transport hub and interchange for the town.
But Metro have failed completely; I suppose Calderdale could have included it in their Local Transport Plans - maybe we should try there again?; and it's true that the project did feature strongly in the proposals of the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance for Hebden Bridge (see page 65 of the UCVR book).
I wonder why UCVR hasn't driven the project forward? Could it be because the chair of the Partnership and Executive groups is one David Fletcher, whilst the senior Council officer for UCVR is the Head of Regeneration, also responsible for promoting the Garden Street development.
Paving over land occupied by a thriving local business just to increase parking capacity may not be the answer. The current station car park is more than big enough to meet need, but is poorly managed. For example, why is it that a minority of rail users can come early and stay all day, filling up all the available spaces by 7:30 and occupying them until after 5:30? Surely this is an inefficient use of a valuable local resource.
If Northern Rail charged a nominal fee of say ten pence per hour for up to five hours and then a punitive £15-20 for time over that – wouldn’t that free up the car park for much wider use, for those making shorter rail journeys and taking more cars off the road? All that increasing car parking for rail users would do is reward the behaviour we need to change.
There appears to be something of a muddle around commuting and the idealisation of rail. Living 30 plus miles from one’s place of work is a lifestyle choice and one that is not environmentally sustainable. Rail also receives huge public subsidies; commuters are cushioned from the true economic cost of their journey and appear somewhat smug regarding the very real environmental impacts of travelling over 10,000 miles a year (but perhaps they just don’t like cities). Far from forcing more people to drive to work, preventing all day parking would encourage them to use the existing (and excellent bus links).
Road use has declined 10-15 per cent due to fuel costs. People are not persuaded by rational debate, they act in their economic self interest and the poverty of our transport policy is that we ignore this simple truth. We could slowly make car use less attractive and support a range of alternatives, this would allow us to stop paving over our town. At present, the action of a minority of rail users and the timidity of our local authority is leading to some very silly decision making. Our attitude to a few ‘bent and disfigured trees’ displays our complicity in giving selfish car users what they want, not what they actually need.
From W Bailey
Either support the car park and get people off the road and on to public transport or dont support it and make people drive.
The days of people living and working within walking distance have gone and the debate over Hebden Bridges parking issues will not change this.
the plans to utilise the area around the station and encourage commuting / travelling in and out of the calder valley via public transport has to be a good thing. The cost of petrol / car tax / garage service charges etc will deal with the issue of whether people stick to owning a car or decide they can live without it.
In any event, a good public transport system is essential and at present that means providing parking.
From Paul D
This is exactly the muddled thinking that will pave over the town. It's not either/or, we need a new approach. Not providing free parking doesn't 'make' people drive, they choose to drive because it's easier, more convenient and often cheaper. We could make it less easy, less convenient and more expensive. Ditto the days of people living and working in the same town. Why not aspire to change that? What's so progressive about people evacuating the town they live in for 12 hours a day? And utilising the area looks to include (in some minds anyway) taking over land that's currently used by a local business. Maybe driving where you want when you want can make people a litle arrogant about who and what gets in their way? Trees, coal yards - all become obstacles. Calderdale turned Riverside School playground into a car park. but hey maybe the kids just got in the way. It's time for a new approach I think.
From Janice S
Paul D - yes, it would be great if more people could work in HB and not need to commute but there aren't enough jobs locally, and likely to be even fewer once the HBOS dust has settled.
Re: the Sheards site, surely the coal merchant could relocate to another local site (unit in Mytholmroyd?) without too much of a problem I'd hope that the company would be compensated for having to move. Isn't the site concreted over anyway?
I don't have a car as I'm one of the lucky ones who do work in HB but I do feel that we need some more parking provision asap, which means that there is no point to the Garden Street development as any extra parking will take years to appear (and I believe the development will make the situation worse and we'll actually lose jobs in HB because of the disruption).
From Jo Beacroft-Mitchell
I shouldn't have done it , I shouldn't have come on here and read anything - always has the same effect.
Paul D how dare you say that working more than 30 miles from home is a lifestyle choice - I used to work 20 minutes (by bus) away from work and my husband still does. Due to redundancy I now live 45 miles from work. Most people who commute do so because house prices in this area are ridiculous.
How lovely your life must be if financial necessity isn't the prime issue when looking for a job. For those of us not fortunate enough to have bought 3 houses for £1 in 1962 which are now worth £150,000 each - picking and choosing jobs based on ideal location rather than financial necessity is I'm afraid to say a fairy story.
Sometimes it's good to have your views rattled Jo, but I'm not attacking you or people who commute.
However, it is a choice. It may not seem like this when everything is settled and one partner loses a job and is forced to travel to find work - but are we really 'forced'? Is it not possible to adjust things to accommodate a more sustainable option? So many people feel forced to travel huge distances (90 miles a day is a huge distance) without being supported to do otherwise. I've done it, the tedium and the cost both exhausted me. But why do it? For example lack of LA and housing association property means most people need a dual income to afford accommodation. Not only that, but the inflated house prices require a dual income that in no way reflects local wages. If we had another 250-300 LA houses then families (of whatever structure) wouldn't need to burn so much time traveling to earn.
The basic fact remains that it is very hard to either adopt, or adjust to, a lifestyle that removes the requirement to travel out of town.
So again I'm not attacking commuters, the car park - for THEM - may be essential. But spending more time travelling to and from work than is spent in productive work before lunctime is silly. Fine if it keeps you where you want to be, but it is unsustainable and should not require others to carry the impacts.
From W Bailey
Sorry Paul but you in danger of changing this thread into a discussion about an ideological world which does not exist.
Whilst many would agree with you that in a ideal situation the work / life / travel balance could be better the fact remains that people have to travel to where the work is and as more and more companies change / grow / enter delcine the workforce has to be mobile to follow it. This means a mixture of cars and public transport working together, and this requires parking.
We could start a thread about the decline of industry and how work should be invited back into the calder valley but I suspect that this will be even harder to solve than the parking problem! I also suspect that if the site opposite stubbing were to be suggested for a change of use from housing to a factory there would be objections about how this might look / affect the area. This is a complex debate in a complex world.
From Myra Lesley
At risk of perpetuating the drift of this thread away from its proper theme, I hope I will be allowed to clarify the situation regarding the land opposite the Stubbing Wharf. This was formerly the site of a factory, which remained designated as employment land for some time, various applications over the years failing to secure permission for change of use. To cut a very long story short, the site now has permission for a mixed use development of 58 residential units and 2500 sq metres commercial use. Building another 50-odd homes just half a mile away during a housing slump seems an odd course of action, to say the least!
From Rev Tony Buglass
Paul, it may be true to say that working where you live or living where you work is a lifestyle choice. The point is, for most of us it isn't a free choice. We have to work with alternatives which we might not have chosen for ourselves, often between unsatisfactory and less unsatisfactory.
Rattling people's views can be fun - I do it all the time! But we have to come back to the realities of our situation, which may or may not be subsceptible to change. C'est la vie.
I agree that reducing car use and calling for people to consider the impacts of commuting on themselves, the town and the environment is somewhat idealistic and I also recognise that a choice may feel like the only option to the chooser.
However, if extending the car park is to encourage a change in behaviour i.e. the increased use of public transport (and thereby reduced reliance on fossil fuel and reduced emissions), then it's useful to point out that it’s likely to have the opposite effect. The likelihood is that without intelligent use of the space more people would drive to the station and park their all day. So those who choose/feel forced to commute 60 plus miles each day will simply be encouraged to top and tail their journey by car and we will have increased levels of local car use, pollution, congestion, etc.
Most local people travel short distances to work by car, to me that’s where the effort should go. It would be interesting to find more creative and more local solution to all this, like a ten pence bus fare between 7 and 9 and then again 4 to 6, or a return rail fare of 20 pence for journeys of less than 5 miles funded from a local income or consumption/waste tax – but I’m not optimistic. The strategy seems to be to allow more people making very long journeys to park nearer the platform - madness.
The economic reality is that many people have to commute in order to find work or engage in the type of work that they find rewarding.
The economic reality is that many people have to commute in order to find work or engage in the type of work that they find rewarding. We live in a free society and people should be free to choose where they live and where they work., without people moralizing about their ‘life style choices’. I doubt any commuter wants to commute to work, if they could find a job in Hebbden that allowed them to pay a mortgage and bring up children etc then I’m sure most would opt for that.
Traveling by rail is more environmentally friendly than driving to work which is what many people do. Building more car parking spaces will encourage more people to travel by rail rather than car. A few trees being cut down is a tiny cost to the benefits of making rail travel easier for people.
If you can come up with some practical ways in which people could find jobs to pay high rent, mortgages and living costs by working in Hebbden then let us know. Perhaps we could build some offices
I'm about to move to Old Town and will be commuting to work in Leeds. I’ll be spending my cash in the local economy to the benefit of people that work in the town.
One thing that has struck me is the lack of bus transport to the station in the morning. There is one an hour that doesn’t link up with the trains very well. Perhaps laying on extra buses getting people to the station would be a more sustainable solution. In the absence of a better bus service I’ll be driving to the station every morning.
James - we should be clear that even paving over Calder Holmes Park still wouldn’t meet the demands of commuters for unlimited free parking. We could provide another 200 spaces at the station and these would just fill up, increasing car use. The community needs a lot of things, but does it need more parking for commuters?
I sometimes wonder if commuting makes people less aware of the needs of the community – dulling their senses. For example, the real ‘problem’ at the station is not parking at all. It has to be the continued exclusion of some of the most vulnerable member of our community from the Manchester/Blackpool platform. How many of those hurrying to their train every morning give a thought (or give a damn) about the fact that anyone using a wheelchair can neither get on nor off trains using one of the two platforms? How many of those calling for more public resources to be directed toward parking walk blithely past the dilapidated lifts - ignorant to both their presence and potential? It appears that the elderly and infirm, those with disabilities or other needs fall under their radar. Calderdale could press for, and even fund these improvements, but they just build another car park.
And why is it that many commuters, especially long distance commuters, seem to have such a narrow world view? Is it all those hours staring at moving scenery that makes them blind to the needs of their own community? Indeed, if long distance commuting (as it appears) makes individuals locally autistic, should we discourage it by increasing the cost? I’m uncertain, but I think we can agree that many of those choosing to move to, or stay in the town, simply cannot fund their current lifestyles without commuting- thus placing a great strain on themselves, their family, the environment and on the community. Perhaps as more of those working in banking, financial services and the ‘real economy’ are thrown out of work, then it will be the shock of determining what is choice and what is necessity that will lead to lifestyle re-evaluation, not my whinges about parking. The bigger house, the extra car, the day care and the trickle down spending on frothy lattes at the weekend – will increasingly become what they always were – a lifestyle choices. Of course it’s not all bad - those remaining in work will be able to park where they like.
Yes I think it does need more carparking at the station. Improving disabled access is important, but decent parking would benefit many more people compared to a tiny handful of disabled or elderly people that need to use the train.
There are not an infinite number of commuters in Hebbden Bridge so a bigger station carpark would not keep filling up as you suggest. I’d happily pay a pound a day for parking that went into improving local buses etc. If there was integrated transport that meant local buses linked with trains I wouldn’t even need to drive. If I didn’t live up on the hill I’d cycle but frankly it would kill me trying to cycle back up.
Just because someone commutes it doesn’t make them any more blinkered to local problems, nor is the only reason people commute is to indulge decadent lifestyle choices, although if that’s what they want to do then good for them. People also want to work in cities because of the type of organizations you can work for e.g. Universities, Media, PR, Legal. Many commuters are cosmopolitan liberal intelligentsia, not mindless consumers eager to marginally improve their physical lot in life.
You should be grateful that there are people going out earning their crust and spending their money in Hebbden. Do you think all those expensive independent shops would still exist if it wasn’t for people earning money in the cities? Just think how many local jobs are reliant on money earned in the cities. Its position for commuting is one of the few things that keeps Hebbden from becoming another deprived and lifeless market town. For many people commuting is a necessity to pay for their children’s University fees, the Mortgage or in my case Student debt.
See Garden Street 3 thread for previous discussion on Station Road parking