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From Ilkley Gazette, 5th October 2017
Written by Claire Lomax

BRADFORD Council has completed study of parking arrangements in Ilkley to try and solve long-standing issues with parking in the town. The study will be used to inform the Council’s short, medium and long term decision making around the management of both on-street and off-street, as well as residential parking.

 A number of recommendations in the report are currently being considered by Bradford Council before the Executive decides on the way forward.

The report states that the biggest issues caused by parking tend to be within 400 metres of Ilkley railway station, although not all the problems are caused by commuters.

Many shoppers struggle to find a space and local residents are sometimes obstructed in their own street.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: "We recognise Ilkley has different issues compared with other parts of the Bradford district.

“Ilkley is a great tourist destination as well as a place where people live and work and because so many people make short journeys into town by car, parking is at a premium.

“We need to look at all the options and take into consideration the needs of commuters, shoppers, visitors and residents to arrive at a solution that suits the needs of Ilkley.

“We’re currently reviewing the recommendations in the report and will announce a way forward as soon as we can.”

Ilkley's MP John Grogan said: "Parking is the number one issue at my surgeries in Ilkley and in my postbag from the town. Consequently I welcome this study which I not only hope will reignite the debate about parking options in the town but lead to action in 2018. I shall be writing to all residents of Ilkley seeking their opinions and will also be holding a meeting with local businesses in the town."

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: "This report repeats a lot that we could have told them.

"It implies that the problem is not linked with commuters but almost entirely an Ilkley produced problem. Just because the rail parking is from within the town doesn't mean that the rail companies can abandon their responsibilities. I envisage we will hear the "no available budget councillor" or "it will have to come from area committee budget," an already pathetic allocation. Some funding needs to come from rail companies, some from joint highway authority.

"The report makes no reference to the need for an out of town carpark except to flag up the Ben Rhydding option which although helpful is not a solution.

"If parking in town is restricted to three hours for instance what is going to be the position for shop employees and others who work in the town?

"What is going to be the position with the increased employment on new Spooner's site which was passed with inadequate parking for speculated employment. Many questions still - we need answers."

Councillor Martin Smith (Con, Ilkley) said: "Within the survey there is much to confirms our views, the pressures on the town of all day parking from people using the trains to Leeds and Bradford, frequent short car journeys, the continuing parking sprawl into residential areas, parking on footpaths, insufficient parking at the train station.

"When the public get to see the full report we will need a public meeting within a short timescale to discuss what we need not what could be forced on us."

Cllr Smith has also written to Tesco, to raise the possibility of the store working with Bradford Council, Network Rail and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to achieve an additional car parking level over the Ilkley Tesco car park.

"This idea is exploratory to see if some sort of joint venture is possible," he said. "Network Rail are building a new layer over the present car parking at Steeton and Menston but have insufficient space for Ilkley services and this may be a solution for the town, railway and Tesco."

Cllr Mark Stidworthy, Ilkley Parish Council project manager for car parking and traffic said: " Ilkley Parish Council is delighted that the results of Bradford Council's car parking survey are now being actively discussed by the Council Executive, and we look forward to them becoming public. Once concrete proposals are on the table, we look forward to working with Bradford to ensure that the current chronic problems of car parking in central Ilkley are addressed in a way that really does meet the needs of local residents, as promised."

The study makes seven recommendations to reduce car use and long stay town centre parking:

* Protect on-street parking for use by short-stay shoppers and encourage turnover by introducing charges for short-stay on-street bays, with the first thirty minutes free, within the town centre that are currently subject to waiting restrictions.

* Introduce resident parking schemes to reduce commuter parking in residential areas. Areas of parking stress close to Ilkley station are identified as requiring controls on commuter parking to protect parking for residents.

* Increase tariffs at South Hawksworth Street car park and re-invest additional income into improved parking facilities. Tariffs should be introduced at other Council-operated car parks in Ilkley, but at a lower rate to reflect their distance from the main shopping area.

* Improve Blue Badge parking provision through ensuring all Blue Badge parking bays are to good practice standards and convert some on-street spaces to Blue Badge bays on Brook Street.

* Review the business permit scheme with a view to reducing business permit parking provision to a level that is closer to actual demand, freeing up spaces for general use.

* Improve presentation and co-ordination of alternative travel options, in particular the frequent public transport routes in the Wharfe Valley corridor.

* Undertake an urban realm study to identify ways of improving the pedestrian environment to facilitate and encourage more walking trips to Ilkley town centre.