PLANS to resolve parking problems in Ilkley, which have rumbled on for "20 years", are soon to begin.

The first phase of the Ilkley parking review was discussed in a council executive meeting in City Hall, Bradford on Tuesday.

The introduction of the proposed initial parking controls, developed in response to an independent review, were approved at the meeting.

Simon D'Vali, Principal Engineer for Highways at Bradford Council outlined the details of phase one and explained the ongoing nature of the review.

He said: "Ilkley, as it stands, is an affluent town which is growing and the parking demand is varied.

"The problems are getting to the point where it's unsustainable - residents are being impacted by non-residents parking on their street - it's reaching breaking point."

Phase one is based on seven recommendations from the review and focuses on on-street parking for the inner business area close to the rail station and shops. The initial designs will also tackle commuters parking in residential areas, with six new residents parking zones.

Two of the wards councillors, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth and Councillor Martin Smith, believed the proposals should be focused on Ilkley as a whole, rather than just the centre, but were pleased something was being done about the issue.

Cllr Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) said: "This issue has been here for 20 years and has gone on and on and on - it has now got to the point where something must be done."

But, she added the problems must not be simply put onto other residents.

Mr D'Vali said the proposal would be systematically changing as responses came in.

He added: "We are confident we will deal with the specific issues raised. There are concerns of over spill after the proposals are introduced, but we're ready to react."

Bradford Council Leader, Susan Hinchcliffe, said she was a frequent user of Ilkley - particularly on weekends - and was well aware of the issues with traffic and parking, but was pleased something was being put in place.

Executive Member for Regen, Planning & Transport, Alex Ross-Shaw, concluded the discussion by stating the proposals would improve parking for 2,900 properties and provide better accessiblity for Ilkley town centre.

He added: "You can never be quite sure how that might affect traffic flow. But we want to encourage more people to take the train."

The first phase includes the introduction of short stay pay and display areas with charges at £1 an hour with a maximum stay of two hours, with the first 30 minutes free. Longer stay pay and displays areas will be introduced with no maximum stay to allow for commuter and business parking with charges of £1 per hour and £5 for over two hours.

Six new zones of residents' permit parking will be created: Chapel Lane area; Parish Ghyll area; Riverside area; Leeds Road/Little Lane area and the Cowpasture Road area.

Additional disabled persons parking bays will be created at Brook Street, Parish Ghyll Road and Station Road. A loading bay will be created for Weston Road and a coach bay in Railway Road will be replaced by long stay pay and display.

The scheme does not accommodate the level of commuter parking presently experienced in Ilkley. As part of the strategy to deal with the displacement of commuter parking a proposal for additional parking at Ben Rhydding Station is currently being developed.

Work is ongoing to identify the needs of local businesses with officers having visited a number of businesses to discuss their needs. It is acknowledged the introduction of the scheme has the potential to cause migration of existing long stay parking to other residential streets currently outside of the proposed boundary. Council officers say the situation will require careful management and will be monitored once the scheme goes live.

The proposals requires the advertisement of Traffic Regulation Orders and any objections to the proposals will need to follow the democratic process and as such, implementation of the scheme could take six months.

Capital costs of implementing the scheme are estimated to be circa £268,000. The annual revenue costs of operating the parking measures would be £90,500 which would be covered through parking charges.

Following the meeting Cllr Hawkesworth said she feared the strategy will destroy employment opportunities for the rest of the district within Ilkley.

"Having been contacted by employers within the town it is clear to me that currently the retail and service sectors within the town are reliant on workers who travel into Ilkley to work," she said. "Many of these are able to acquire necessary skills for future employment plus also supplying necessary skills to the town. For many of these workers public transport is not an option, making the working day impossibly long due to lack of connectivity. Many of these will view the cost of £5 per day to park plus petrol prohibitive to continuing to work in Ilkley - for part time workers completely impossible. Because of specialist employment within Ilkley it is hard to see opportunities for any employees so displaced. Also it will impact on the viability of the businesses."

Cllr Martin Smith said: "The first phase was approved at the executive with acknowledgement by the controlling group of what I said - that this is a complex, inter related problem with other service providers, bus and rail and although I sought a standstill position to give Network Rail chance to increase parking at Menston, Steeton before the Bradford solution for Ilkley was applied the decision was to implement the phase one but that the Council would keep talking to all parties especially district councillors during the process. This I regret but we are where we are and we all need still to be vigilant and continue to add to the debate to"