New system ‘confusion’ at car park in Haworth

Keighley News: Hardware shop owner Julie Rhodes Hardware shop owner Julie Rhodes

A new system at the Gas Street council car park in Haworth is still catching out shoppers who fail to qualify for 30 minutes’ free parking by not getting a ticket.

Changes were introduced at the end of the summer, and enforced from November 13, ending a well-known practice that depended on drivers’ honesty.

Previously, it was not necessary to obtain a ticket if only staying for half-an-hour.

And while visitors may well check the large tariff sign, many locals are unaware and are being hit with £25 fines.

Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council deputy chairman Councillor Peter Hill said big signs were needed to explain the new procedure.

“If people are used to parking there for 30 minutes without a ticket, then they are not going to be looking at the main board,” Coun Hill added.

“Bradford Council should put up some big signs to say ‘press the green button, get a ticket and 30 minutes’ free parking’.”

Gatehouse vets in Mill Hey has a warning sign on its own front door because of instances where clients have ended up being fined.

“I recognise the council is trying to find revenue from everywhere, but if doing so alienates the ordinary ratepayer, it will not end well,” said Simon Thomas, a partner in the Gatehouse group.

“There was virtually no public information to highlight the change, and we have dealt with a number of clients who have been distressed by this.

“They are already anxious when they arrive with a sick animal and may have been using that car park for ten years or more, and so do not notice the changed sign.”

He said council wardens were also showing a less flexible attitude to parking at Gas Street in general by penalising drivers who strayed over white lines dividing the bays.

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “This method is the only practical means of monitoring a free parking period. It is used at other car parks in the district where free parking is available for a short period of time.

“We had a new payment machine and new signage installed at the car park about six weeks ago making it clear people now need to get a ticket for their first free half hour.

“Since then, we have also been approaching members of the public or leaving notices on car windscreens warning them that in future they will need to get a ticket.

“We have given people several weeks to get used to the system, but we have started enforcing the regulation to restrict overstaying and to help ensure a turnover of free spaces.”

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