COUNCILLORS are vowing to fight the introduction of charges at a Guiseley car park.

The Netherfield Road site currently provides free parking for shoppers and commuters using the town's station - but that could be set to change as part of Leeds City Council's budget proposals for 2019.

Ward councillors Pat Latty and Paul Wadsworth say initial proposals identify three district car parks - including Netherfield Road - which are being considered for pay and display. They warned the introduction of charges could displace vehicles onto residential streets and impact on businesses.

Cllr Latty said: "We do not have sufficient on or off-street car parking in Guiseley, be it public or privately owned. Netherfield Road has filled a need, offering free parking for commuters using Guiseley Station and local businesses. Introducing charging to this car park would upset this delicate balance in the town. Adjacent to Netherfield Road are two new estates which will be immediate targets for commuters if charging is introduced. We will oppose these proposals and are calling on the Council to think again."

Cllr Wadsworth added: "Netherfield Road is a much valued car park. It is popular and works well, encouraging commuters to park and ride and therefore reducing congestion on the A65. Introducing charging risks all that has been achieved in this area and would push vehicles onto residential streets, with all the problems that this entails. There would also be a negative effect on local businesses, who rely on the car park for their staff and also for customers. These are short-sighted proposals and I hope the Council will reconsider introducing charges in Guiseley and in other district centres.”

When funding was approved by Leeds City Council for the new 150-space car park in 2008 it was seen as a way of alleviating long-standing problems in Guiseley.

In a letter to the Wharfedale Observer this week the two councillors said:"When we were able to get the car park on Netherfield Road built it was at a time when parking in Guiseley was even more difficult than today. The biggest problem being commuter parking with city workers abandoning their cars in the centre, particularly the Morrison’s and retail park car parks. This made parking to use the facilities of the town almost impossible and something had to happen to free-up the centre.

"Netherfield Road went a long way to solving the problem. It was not an overnight success but gradually became accepted and is now full or nearly full on weekdays.

"It was designed as a free car park and we believe that it should remain as such. If charging is introduced – as proposed in the Council’s Initial Budget proposals - we believe we would see a rapid return to parking in the streets, particularly of our new estates."

They added: "Furthermore, there has been some discussion recently of this car park being made two storey. Charging could mean an empty two storey car park and that’s the last thing we want to see so we will oppose the introduction of charging by every means at our disposal."

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “Proposals to introduce pay and display parking charges in some local district car parks are part of our initial budget proposals for 2019/2020.

“The council faces similar financial challenges to last year, including a £24m gap to close between income and service costs. Consultation on the budget proposals finishes this Friday and people are invited to have their say at:”