A REVAMP of Ilkley's central car park has cut the size of spaces and left motorists struggling to get out of their vehicles, it is being claimed.

District Councillor Anne Hawkesworth says the spaces are now three inches smaller - making it more difficult to park and to get out of the car.

And she is warning that struggling motorists could ditch the town's shops in favour of other centres unless Bradford Council thinks again.

The change is also being criticised by district councillor Kyle Green who is accusing Bradford of treating Ilkley like a "cash cow".

Cllr Hawkesworth measured the width of spaces in the newly lined South Hawksworth Street car park at the weekend after receiving complaints that residents were left trapped in their cars once they had managed to park up. She says the new spaces now measure less than the minimum national standard.

She said: "Fortunately some of the older spaces - incidentally marked out when I was the portfolio holder - still remain so I was able to get absolute comparison.

"It appears spaces have had three inches severed off. That amount makes a huge difference for manoeuvring into spaces plus getting out of the car once parked.

"Some car parks which have the same as the new width - 93 inches - such as Tesco have wider space between lanes to'swing into or they are herringboned."

She urged Bradford Council to have a rethink about the work, which was still going on when she took the measurements.

She stressed: "The town centre and the shops are in a fragile position. They need help not hindrance.

"Cars are wide these days. If they cannot park easily they won’t come. It is one of the benefits of the main car park - it has been easy to park when you found a space.

"Don’t forget arthritic hips, limbs etc. Skipton will be happy to take our trade."

Cllr Green said: “While extra capacity is the fundamental issue at the heart of parking problems in Ilkey, the decision to shrink parking bays to accommodate extra spaces rather than through investment in creating new ones shows once again Ilkley is just being treated as a cash cow by Labour-run Bradford Council.

"By shrinking bays, the council will be making life harder for families or those who need space to safely open and close car doors.

"It is also regrettable that the council has failed to invest in more electric car charging points to help future-proof the car park, especially given the climate emergency we all face and the need to put infrastructure in place to make the transition to electric vehicles possible."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: "Previously there was some inconsistency over the sizes of bays, albeit the vast majority were around 2.4m. Thanks to the resurfacing the new bays will be more consistent in size.

“No new spaces have been created due to the relining process, the new spaces have come from taking out verges, street furniture and other measures to maximise the space in the car park, which sees the highest demand in Ilkley for spaces.

“As well as increasing the number of places available for parking, the area has benefited from improvements to lighting and also the introduction of an electric vehicle charging point.”