Update on Town Centre Parking Fiasco

The following email was sent to all Councillors as an update on the parking fiasco affecting Halifax Town Centre.
Dear Councillor
 
You will be aware of the problems that have arisen regarding Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) in Calderdale, particularly in Halifax Town Centre and Skircoat.
 
However, it is clear that communication of the issues, timescales for their resolution and progress in achieving them, has been unsatisfactory.
 
Officers have apologised to Members directly affected, and will be providing a weekly update to all Councillors from today.
 
By way of background information, the Council’s website includes a page titled “Parking Refunds” which can be accessed from the banner at the top of the home page or by the link below. This contains information, and links to maps and frequently asked questions.
 
 
Officers are dealing with claims for refunds of Penalty Charge Notices and future updates will provide more information relating to these. So far, 2890 have been received, of which almost half have been dealt with.
 
Work is proceeding on the replacement Halifax Town Centre (Inner) TRO as a priority, not least because of the economic importance to the Borough,
 
Due to concern over traffic congestion a Temporary Order is in place to allow control over the periods motorists are able to park, although on-street charges remain suspended.
 
The new order will be advertised in the press and by site notice on 19 December, with it coming into force, following completion of statutory procedures, in mid-February 2015.
 
RTA Associates is assisting with survey and mapping work. Officers are currently checking that work against the order schedules, to replace them with maps which  allow easier interpretation  of the parking restrictions.
 
Work will continue on drafting the new Town Centre (Outer) and the Skircoat TROs, with implementation envisaged for both by May 2015. Officers have also been asked to consider an extension to the Skircoat parking order, over and above the area affected by the current issues, and we know this has added to some of the communication issues. We have now clarified that the extension cannot be done at the same time as the rectification work now underway as it would require further consultation covering the whole area and therefore a longer delay in putting right the problems. We have agreed to work with residents to consider the feasibility of the extension and hope to make a decision on whether or not this would be possible by the end of March.
 
In addition to RTA, a locum solicitor was brought into the Legal Team to assist the Council solicitor dealing with the TRO issues. Unfortunately, he has taken up another position at Leeds City Council, and we will find a replacement as a matter of urgency.
 
I hope that you find this first update helpful, and a further update will be provided next Friday.
 
Best wishes
 
Geoff Willerton
Head of Planning and Highways