Wetherby parking plans revealed

The Wilderness Car Park.  100310M13a.
The Wilderness Car Park. 100310M13a.
  • Plans illustrating what parking in Wetherby could look like have been revealed
  • Car parks at Wilderness, Crossley Street, James Street, and the Council Offices would be restricted to four hours
  • Parking at Hallfield Lane lorry park would also be restricted to four hours but with 25 per cent long stay
  • Station Gardens would be unrestricted
  • Plans not finalised yet

Plans for restricted parking in all but one car park in Wetherby could be enforced, the News can reveal.

The parking strategy could see car parks at Wilderness, Crossley Street, James Street, and the Council Offices restricted to four hours only.

Parking at Hallfield Lane lorry park would also be restricted to four hours but will be 25 per cent long stay parking with no restrictions.

Station Gardens car park would be unrestricted, while the Horsefair Centre will stay restricted to two hours.

Wetherby Coun Gerald Wilkinson (Con), who is acting as liaison on the strategy, said: “That hasn’t been finalised because it may be that because we have nowhere to house all day parkers we may have to rethink that. The decision has not yet been finalised but this is what it is looking like.

“We are going to satisfy the needs of people who come into the town to shop and other visitors quite substantially, but we won’t be pleasing those people who currently park in town all day.

“Our main concern is the viability of the town, so we are still trying to find how we can accommodate the people that want to park all day.

“Some people work in the town and others come and get the bus or car share to Leeds. That shouldn’t be the case, it should be there for shoppers, which is what we are trying to achieve.”

Final approval on the strategy has been delayed as further meetings need to take place before it can be finalised. However, the proposals could be put in place if everything is signed off without change in these final stages.

Scheduled to meet with Leeds City Council (LCC) highways officers last week, Coun Wilkinson said that meeting had to be rescheduled and more people need to be consulted before any of the plans are implemented.

As yet that meeting has not been arranged, but it will have to take place soon, as the ‘ideal situation’ would be to have Station Gardens ready before work on Hallfield Lane begins.

Work will be starting at Station Gardens in April, taking six to eight weeks. Work on Hallfield Lane is provisionally due to begin in summer and is likely to take about 16 weeks.

Coun Wilkinson added: “It is not an easy decision to make and you can’t please all the people all the time, but it is one of those decisions we will have to make.

“Regarding parking for market traders on a Thursday, we will find somewhere close for them to park both short term, when the lorry park closes, and long term.”

A meeting is due to take place with Wetherby Business Association in the coming weeks about the impact of the strategy on businesses in the town.

Vice chair Denise Podlewska said this is urgently required as the association has not been kept in the loop.

“The business association has asked for a meeting because we haven’t really been kept informed about it, so the traders are up in arms,” she said.

“It is a serious problem in my view that they haven’t kept us informed, and I really don’t think they have considered the businesses. Business owners have people coming to Wetherby to work and the big problem is where do they go?”

She added, however, that the strategy as it stands is not too much of a problem in her view, as long as there is something in there for working people.

“I don’t disagree with the four hour parking for the general public because there are too many people going off to Leeds, but I personally would like to see some sort of pass for working people, or even if they had to pay something, which they would have to do in Leeds, that would be fine. It is the not having anywhere that is a problem.

“Obviously we need more people to come into Wetherby to spend four hours browsing and go back home again, but they have just not thought about where the people who are in these businesses park.

“To be quite honest Station Gardens is not that far away, but the safety and security worries me. It is very remote and enclosed by trees and I don’t think I would want to be there on my own even during the day.

“They would have to do something to make it more open and secure for people to want to use it.”

The Mayor of Wetherby Coun Harry Chapman had similar concerns for people working in Wetherby.

He said: “We have been concerned about the number of people who perhaps need to have long stay.

“I can’t disagree with any of the proposals but we have got to take care of people coming to work in Wetherby and people coming to Wetherby from the villages and going on to Leeds. We have to look after them to a certain extent.”