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Delight as ‘parking taxes’ bid faces axe
Plans to introduce resident and visitor parking charges across the Leeds district are set to be scrapped after mass opposition from the public.
The U-turn is expected next week when senior councillors will be advised to abandon the controversial plans to introduce the fees.
The expected decision has been welcomed by Horsforth councillor Chris Townsley, who had warned the introduction of charges would lead to a return to parking chaos and could have jeopardised a new scheme planned for the New Road Side area.
He said he was “delighted” with the plans to scrap charges, which would have cost residents at least £50 per year.
The decision is expected to be made at a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday following extensive consultation which asked for the views of about 10,500 residents.
After receiving more than 4,200 responses from the public, senior councillors are set to not proceed any further with the introduction of fees at this time.
Coun Townsley had warned that parking permit charges would punish residents of his ward instead of the rogue parkers. He said years of work had gone into getting residents’ parking schemes set up in areas around the station and close to Leeds Trinity University.
“It would have had a huge impact for Horsforth,” he said. “A lot of people would not have been able to afford these charges.”
Councillors in Horsforth fought a long campaign to have residential parking zones introduced on streets where students and commuters were parking inconsiderately.
But Coun Townsley warned that all the hard work would have been undone by the introduction of charging, and would have meant a return to the original chaos.
“I think in certain places where there have been problems created then it is our duty to help,” he stressed and added: “There is also going to be another scheme around the New Road Side area that, quite frankly, could have been in jeopardy. That scheme is imminent.”
Councillor Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for development and economy, said: “Like everyone in Leeds, in the current economic climate we are having to make some difficult decisions.
“The council has to save at least £36 million over the course of the next year and our options for generating income are reducing every day.
“However, despite these budget pressures, the views of our residents are always hugely important to any decision that we make.
“But while I believe we have done the right thing by fully consulting with the public before taking any decision, the financial gap – and consequent headache – still remains.”
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