Parking charges are being planned for district's railway stations

Wharfedale Observer: Guiseley Station – one of the stations where the Government is considering bringing in new parking charges Guiseley Station – one of the stations where the Government is considering bringing in new parking charges

Plans to bring in charges at railway stations where people currently park for free got a mixed reaction in Bradford.

Rail commuters could see journey costs spiral as the Government considers new charges at 18 stations in the region.

Many of those which would be affected are on the Airedale line and include Shipley, Crossflatts, Steeton and Silsden, Menston and Guiseley.

Elsewhere, Brighouse and New Pudsey stations are earmarked.

The chairman of Metro, Councillor James Lewis, has written to the Transport Secretary urging a re-think.

Rail users do not necessarily see the proposals as unreasonable, but the Aire Valley Rail Users Group made it clear that any new charges should be accompanied by investment in the Airedale line.

However, Bradford Council's executive member for transport, Councillor Val Slater, called for alternatives and expressed fears about commuters parking outside homes and businesses if charges are introduced.

The proposals come as the Government negotiates an extension to the franchise held by Northern Rail, which runs local services. The company receives millions of pounds in subsidies and ministers want to offset the cost.

Tim Calow, chairman of the Aire Valley Rail Users Group, said: “We are concerned about any measures to put up the cost to commuters. We are trying to encourage people to use different methods of getting to stations rather than by car.

“In principle we are not opposed to station parking charges. The parks are full very early in the day. There is high demand for these spaces. But people who use emptier trains later in the day – such as families or senior citizens – can’t get in and tend to park along nearby streets. This is certainly an issue along the Airedale line.

“We would very much like to see some investment in our line. We have an excellent service, but there is a lot of overcrowding at peak times.

“These proposals are not unfair, but if such changes are implemented we will be looking to see considerable investment for our line and services. That would be sensible and good for the local economy, jobs and the Aire Valley in general.”

But Coun Slater said: “This is totally unreasonable. We have had Eric Pickles accusing councils of making money out of motorists through parking charges and now the Government is proposing the same sort of thing.

“It is very unfair on the travelling public. Fares have just gone up and now this. There is also the potential of problems for nearby streets if parking shifts from the car parks.

“Residents could have trouble parking outside their own homes and would come to us asking for permits or no-parking zones. All this would be paid for by the local council tax payer.

“The Government should look for alternatives. Along with other councils, we have been interested in having more control over rail services and how they operate and formed a consortium – Rail North – to talk to the Government. We thought we were making progress and then something like this crops up.”

Metro chairman, Coun Lewis, says in his letter to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin: “While I understand the need to drive efficiencies in the franchise, we have major concerns about the impact and deliverability of some options being considered.

“We believe the adverse passenger impacts and impact on local highways and neighbourhoods – especially the proposed car park charges – have not been properly addressed.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We continue to have constructive discussions with the Department for Transport and Rail North on what they want to happen in the new franchise agreement for Northern between April 2014 and February 2016.

“As part of those discussions, we have been asked to provide proposals that would reduce the cost to the taxpayer of running the railway as well as providing better facilities and information for customers.

“The details of the new franchise agreement are still being finalised and we cannot comment further until it is signed.”

Comments (3)

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3:26pm Fri 28 Feb 14

pjl20 says...

Time to campaign for a new low-level multi-storey car park in Ilkley to replace the miniscule facility adjacent to the bus station, that is full up by 7.30am on most weekday mornings.

We need at least 500 new car park spaces for the daily commuters who use the train service into Leeds, Bradford and beyond.

Our street and roadways are littered with all-day car parking. We need to rid ourselves of this and introduce strict no parking on side streets throughout our town. But, this can only be done when a big new car park is opened. Where to? From where Tesco vacates it's present site, to the new superstore.
Time to campaign for a new low-level multi-storey car park in Ilkley to replace the miniscule facility adjacent to the bus station, that is full up by 7.30am on most weekday mornings. We need at least 500 new car park spaces for the daily commuters who use the train service into Leeds, Bradford and beyond. Our street and roadways are littered with all-day car parking. We need to rid ourselves of this and introduce strict no parking on side streets throughout our town. But, this can only be done when a big new car park is opened. Where to? From where Tesco vacates it's present site, to the new superstore. pjl20

4:36pm Fri 28 Feb 14

JWP says...

There is a site near the station down Railway Road that has been vacant for 7 years. Tesco have proved they have no concern for Ilkley. The land should be taken off them and used they are a disgrace and yet we still kowtow to them.
There is a site near the station down Railway Road that has been vacant for 7 years. Tesco have proved they have no concern for Ilkley. The land should be taken off them and used they are a disgrace and yet we still kowtow to them. JWP

10:55am Sun 2 Mar 14

pjl20 says...

JWP

I suggest that you ask the planning inspector down in Whitehall why Tesco has been given permission to build a new superstore in Mayfield Road, when more than 5,000 Ilkley residents have already objected to this poor decision.

Outline planning permission has also been given to Tesco for a new care home to be built on the site of the existing store, off Springs Lane.

However, dealing with the largest British retailer is not done by making demands, resorting to bluster or even attempting to alienate them. This is done through skilful negotiation. As one who has dealt with Tesco for 30+ years, I know this method to be true and effective. This approach works!

We need a new multi-storey car park for at least 500 cars, adjacent to the railway station. The answer is to ask Tesco, who own the site, to agree to a change of use and perhaps even help fund the construction of it.
JWP I suggest that you ask the planning inspector down in Whitehall why Tesco has been given permission to build a new superstore in Mayfield Road, when more than 5,000 Ilkley residents have already objected to this poor decision. Outline planning permission has also been given to Tesco for a new care home to be built on the site of the existing store, off Springs Lane. However, dealing with the largest British retailer is not done by making demands, resorting to bluster or even attempting to alienate them. This is done through skilful negotiation. As one who has dealt with Tesco for 30+ years, I know this method to be true and effective. This approach works! We need a new multi-storey car park for at least 500 cars, adjacent to the railway station. The answer is to ask Tesco, who own the site, to agree to a change of use and perhaps even help fund the construction of it. pjl20

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