Lib Dems propose free parking for Otley

20 Feb 2023

Leeds Liberal Democrats are hoping to see a market town achieve free parking for its shoppers and workers, whilst looking at how to make parking more expensive for city slickers, through their amendment to be submitted at Wednesday’s Leeds City Council Annual Budget meeting.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Stewart Golton will propose the amendment. He said:

“The businesses in the city’s market towns and district centres had a stressful time under lockdown, and now have customers tightening belts in a cost of living crisis, and rocketing bills for energy and supplies. They need as much support as we can give them. It is right that shoppers and traders using Council owned car parks in our outlying local centres should do so for free, as they don’t enjoy the level of public transport that the city centre does. That is why it is so unfair that Otley town centre is the only district centre in the city to be subject to charging. We would cancel those charges, so that the £100,000 spent on parking can be spent keeping local businesses afloat instead.”

Leeds City Centre has had many millions of pounds spent on its public transport and active travel infrastructure over recent years, and is the principal destination for most local bus and rail services. The Liberal Democrat amendment reflects this, and also calls for a study to enable a levy on city centre business parking spaces.

“The ruling administration says it wants a car-free city, and has spent a lot of money reducing road space for cars in the city centre. We would argue therefore that the next logical step would be to encourage businesses to reduce their employee car users by imposing a levy on the parking spaces they provide, as has been done with great success in Nottingham. The money raised could then be reinvested in the neighbourhood centres that have yet to receive the level of transport investment the city centre consistently has.”