The council has sent out a reminder to visitors to Kirklees towns and villages that they will need to pay to park from 11 January.
Visitors to Kirklees’s towns and villages will once again need to check signs and meters to see whether they need to pay before leaving their car when parking charges return in January.
Why was free parking introduced?
The change comes after the majority of 2020 saw council parking charges removed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kirklees Council offered free parking to people visiting Huddersfield and Dewsbury as well as other local towns and villages since shops re-opened after the first lockdown in June, this was then extended until the end of 2020.
Free car parking was introduced as a way to help encourage more people to shop local and take advantage of the opportunities on offer for leisure and retail throughout the borough.
This in turn would help local businesses during what has been an extremely tough time.
‘Wider economic recovery’
Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration said: “We always intended to start charging again in the new year, but to give people a chance to do some sales shopping or return unwanted gifts we’re not starting until the 11 January.
“As we move into the new year we have to think about the wider economic recovery.
“We know free parking was appreciated by both residents and businesses in our town centre, but now is the right time to start bringing in income so that we can deliver on our ambitions for the whole of Kirklees.
Positives and Negatives
Cllr Naheed Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways said: “We’ve learnt a lot from offering free parking, both positive and negative.
“Parking charges are not all about bringing in extra money, they also allow us to make sure there are enough spaces for everyone who needs them, a successful town centre economy requires a regular turnover of people visiting and spending money.
“At the moment some of our bigger car parks are being used exclusively by people working in town, making it harder for shoppers to find a space.
The council added that despite bringing back charges they will continue to monitor parking and make decisions about specific locations on a case by case basis and in line with local need. Indicating that free parking could return at some point in the future.