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From Peter Banyard

Monday, 15 April 2013

When oh when will parking be improved. Very disappointed that despite the obvious money available for Hebden Bridge improvements, for example the newly built town hall, yet again there are no plans that I know of to extend parking facilities in the town. Surely it is to the benefit of all, visitors, locals and business owners. The council will also be able to collect more fees. When I hear of every parcel of land being set aside for hotels, supermarkets I despair. We do not have the basic facilities to allow a moderate number of cars to our town. I was pleased to see mention of the Local Act in relation to buildings in our town and their use for the good of the community, such as the recent transferral of the Youth House to a local action group promoting the Arts I believe. Cannot the same be done with unused or derelict land rather than sell it off or practically give it away to developers.

From Jill Robinson

Monday, 15 April 2013

I met a harrassed looking woman while walking through the park a week ago, she had come over from Cheshire for a guided walk about wild foods but said she could only find short-term on-street parking which would not enable her to complete the walk before having to move her car, and she would never come to Hebden Bridge again. I suppose there is little point in putting on a variety of events unless people know they can park. The train journey from Cheshire would involve several changes, so she had not considered it feasible, especially on a Sunday. of course, this is just one anecdotal instance...

From Cllr Janet Battye

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

This is an important issue that we've got to keep working at. At Council level, we're working hard to retain the parking that we've currently got and I'm still pressing for a bigger carpark at the station.

There used to be a little map of the town showing where the parking spaces are (produced just after the Traffic Review about 5 years ago) - I'll see if we can get that reprinted and reissued.

Hebden Bridge Partnership is also working on reviewing and revising the Action Plan for the town and there'll be a consultation day shortly - we'd encourage people to come along and make their views known !

From Peter Banyard

Saturday, 20 April 2013

An interesting extract from todays Telegraph newspaper by Sir Terry Leahy, founder of Tescos, love him or hate him he knows his business.

Talking about the threat to our high streets he says....

But an obstacle course of policies still stands in the way of local residents being able to transform their high street. To start Reinventing the High Street, in the words of The Daily Telegraph's new campaign, which aims to spark debate and which I am delighted to endorse, I'd like to highlight three changes in particular that need to happen:

(1) We need to stop the steady rise in car park charges, which deters shoppers from venturing out. Many people rely on the car to shop. Rather than hitting them with higher charges, supermarkets, local amenities (like leisure centres) and councils should come together to think how big, free car parks can draw people into town centres.

(2) A neighbourhood plan could be put together to revive a local high street, in which case there should be just one architect and just one team in charge, empowered by the local community to transform their neighbourhood. Look at my home town, Liverpool. Run down and still bearing the scars of wartime bombing, its city centre had been written-off. A grand, £1 billion investment plan, Liverpool One, backed by one of the country's largest property companies, Grosvenor, was drawn up. Decried by some as "too ambitious", a good team has now transformed the city.

(3) Business rates need radical reform. When recession hits, small shopkeepers can see their revenues collapse through no fault of their own, but the business rates they pay remain the same. The system must change so that rates reflect the economic activity of the store.

From Tim B

Saturday, 20 April 2013

To quote J G Ballard, "Parking is well on the way to becoming the British population's greatest spiritual need."

From Paul Clarke

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Oh good, we're going to get a map so that will sort the problem out.

The reality is that we are a town that relies on the tourist trade so - while we would hope people might come by train - we should we make parking as cheap and easy as possible.

The ideal would be no parking fees at the weekend and less aggressive use of parking wardens. It won't happen as the council are using parking revenue to offset some of the impact of their 'caring cuts' programme.

The real question here is how long is Cllr Battye going to peddle this fantasy of a bigger car park at the station? In lieu of real action she offers this non starter of an idea and yet another meeting. One would expect better from the well paid Deputy Leader of the Council.

From Paul D

Monday, 22 April 2013

Might it not be more constructive to consider some of the popular misconceptions about the need for even more parking than have a go at those like Janet who are at least involved in finding solutions?

Misconception number one is that Hebden Bridge is a 'tourist town' or depends on tourism for its economic viability. Tourism makes up about 8% of GDP in Yorkshire, however, this is unevenly spread, we can't really compare ourselves to York for example, or Scarborough. Here tourism and any jobs it creates are often overstated by those with a vested interest in it. I'm not saying tourism is irrelevant, but it's not and never will be the economic force it is made out to be.

Misconception number two is that providing more parking necessarily solves any existing problems or eases congestion. Walk up to Fairlfield and see how the road is clogged with vehicles avoiding current charges or restrictions, much to the detriment of local residents and road safety. We have near stationary traffic queuing into town form Mayroyd, the emissions of harmful pollutants regularly breaches safe levels as recorded by the device on Market Street. The A646 corridor is really not the best place to walk if you have respiratory problems or are aged over 60 or under 5. Creating capacity for more vehicles isn't really sensible. Nor is encouraging drivers to drive around looking for fewer spaces however.

A balance is required that supports local businesses, recognises the hinterland issues around town (the need for parking as people come into town from surrounding rural areas) but possibly involves deterrents to tourism as it currently is, that is, we seem to be popular on the basis of being less than a gallon of petrol from home and not as ugly as anywhere in between. My personal opinion is that tourism is overblown and talking to those retailers who unlike me earn money on it, it's clear that local trade is vitally important too. The proliferation of charity shops suggest either inflated rents and/or retail die back, either way it doesn't make me think relying more on discretionary spending is a sensible solution.

So these plans are important, it's essential to have a coordinated approach where vested interests are taken to tasks on economic and environmental grounds. It's called living in a democracy. We might collectively decide that our economy, culture and environment needs re-balancing away from a model based on not having to waddle very far for a cone of chips. We might decide on a shared space future, or to build a huge multi-storey and drive thru at Mayroyd. The point is we need the debate and this can't just be left to the car lobby and beneficiaries of tourism.

From Peter B

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Has anyone ever been to Skipton? A very good model I think for a busy Yorkshire market town. Thriving marketplaces, unique shops, jobs, housing and lifestyle well supported by the town parking facilities. They have coach parking too allowing influx of walkers, shoppers and the like. I remember speaking with a coach driver 6 years ago and he told me they were discontinuing coach trips to the town as the Hebden Bridge parking for coaches had been withdrawn. True to his word I never saw them again. It would be nice I think if we could keep up with modern trends and make room for parking. We have so many galleries, pubs with lunches, canalside walks and amenities and shops/cafes for visitors to enjoy and I don't just mean people from far afield, most people will drive down to the town from Peckett, Mytholmroyd and nearby boroughs to pick up shopping rather than haul it back on foot or nip over for lunch rather than making their trip into a much longer affair to allow for the walk. And let's face it on a cold or rainy day don't we all prefer to use our vehicles.

A Multi storey would be nice as suggested by another contributor but these things are expensive I would imagine, perhaps using flat land would be a cheap option, has anyone ever thought of removing through traffic from one of our existing town centre streets such as Hope street and making the whole street into a car park. Consideration would have to be given to any home owners perhaps allowing a space or two per property or loading bay for any business affected. This is just an example, would like to hear other people's suggestions.

See also:

HebWeb Forum: Parking Charges (Dec-Jan)

HebWeb Forum: Limited Parking Affecting Business (Nov 2011)

HebWeb Forum: Garden street car parking (2007)