RESIDENTS are being asked again by Leeds City Council to pay to park at Otley Chevin and Golden Acre Park.

A public consultation for the proposal for "a modest parking charge" went live on Wednesday, October 11 and will run until November 5.

Last year the council considered charging for parking at Leeds parks and green spaces but decided not to proceed after residents came back with a resounding 'no'.

Leeds have now proposed a new scheme - which only includes the Chevin in Otley and Golden Acre Park in Bramhope - as it seeks to plug a budget shortfall of £34m.

The council says the parking revenue would support the costs incurred from maintaining and improving the car parks and improvements would start before the charges are introduced.

However, Cllr Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale Ward) said he was "appalled at the haste with which the proposal has been brought forward", while Otley and Yeadon Liberal Democrat Councillors Sandy Lay, Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes expressed surprise at the "reintroduction of the deeply unpopular proposal".

"We thought that after last year’s widespread opposition to charges for parking at parks the scheme has been dropped" said Cllr Lay. "But this does not appear to be so with a new proposal to start charging visitors to the Chevin. Limiting access to public open spaces goes against everything we believe in. We should be encouraging people to go out into the countryside not discouraging them. Residents of Otley have the right to ask why us? Otley is already the only town in Leeds where residents are asked to pay parking fees. Now they are being told that they will have to pay to use their park."

"We believe the proposal is ill thought out,” added Cllr Campbell. "Leeds claim that income from parking will be reinvested in the Chevin but past experience leads us to doubt this. They will give no guarantees around investment and despite promises that money from town centre parking would be invested in Otley they have refused to return any money to the town."

"There seems to be little detailed information around car park usage or how much this might raise,” said Cllr Ryk Downes. "We have also expressed concerns that to avoid charges motorists will park on neighbouring roads thus causing a traffic hazard. Leeds response seems to be they would introduce yellow lines to push people into paid spaces."

Cllr Richard Hughes from Otley Town Council also expressed his concern saying: "Much of the Chevin Forest Park was given to the people of Otley by the Horton Fawkes' family from Farnley. They believed that residents of the town should have free access to the countryside, a principle the Town Council fully support."

Cllr Barry Anderson, whose ward includes Golden Acre Park, encouraged residents to take part in the consultation.

He said: "Last year I carried out a consultation exercise and was overwhelmed with the responses I got, all of which went to the Council. All the issues raised are still equally applicable. I have asked residents again for their comments.

"Before bringing forward measures like this they need to think through the impacts of this proposal and who it is going to affect most of all, particularly when it conflicts with their “Active Lifestyles” agenda. The Council have not put in any proposals to improve the public transport links to Golden Acre. A lot of the people who will be adversely affected are suffering at the moment due to current inflation pressures we are all having to face up to.

"I am sure if you asked the residents of this city they would be able to put forward suggestions that would save money and prevent this unnecessary measure. That would be a better consultation to have with the citizens of Leeds.

"Many residents have commented in the past that the Council don’t have a great record of taking note of consultation exercises when people respond with answers that don’t fit the Council’s chosen scenarios.

"I would suggest that all residents take the opportunity to submit their responses to the consultation exercise and if they are so minded, to copy me in to their thoughts and comments so that I can represent their views over the coming weeks of debate before the budget measures are finally agreed in January/February 2024."

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We’re consulting on proposals to introduce modest car parking charges at Golden Acre Park and Otley Chevin Forest Park.

“Councils have a legal obligation to balance their books whilst also delivering a number of vital frontline services.

“Leeds City Council has been formally praised for its financial management, yet the reality is that our core government funding has more than halved since 2010 despite our costs and demand for services increasing.

“Parking charges would help support the costs of maintaining and improving both of these fantastic sites - ensuring that we can continue to do so - while relieving pressure on other council services.

“While the exact rates of charges is undecided and will be informed by the consultation, we aim to keep them as modest as possible in recognition of the financial pressures that we know many people face.

“We’d urge every resident and park user to take part in our consultation to let us know what they think about these proposals and how they might work in practice.”

To take part in the consultation visit or

It is understood paper copies will also be made available at local venues.