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From Phil Buck

Sunday, 23 October 2016

As a regular visitor to Hebden Bridge to shop, eat and attend the Trades Club, I comment that it is becoming increasingly difficult to park on a daytime weekend visit. So much so that we didn't stay on our last visit, eating out of town with the knock on that we didn't shop, wander and spend in the local businesses. The further knock on is the waste of the journey and the likelihood we may go elsewhere in future. Please don't suggest we come by train or bus. I have a car, I enjoy driving, and I will use it at every opportunity.

I don't mind paying a parking charge: but I need somewhere to park.
Are there any alternative parking areas that could be opened up? Am I missing the obvious? Does anyone have any sensible solutions.

Without seeming arrogant; the town needs people to spend, spend, spend particularly after the floods. I want to do this; but the town needs to welcome me and my car.

From Veronica Roberts

Sunday, 23 October 2016

I agree, not enough parking for the visitors the town attracts. At the weekend cars are just driving round and round looking for that elusive parking place. It's a shame the old fire station shut the gates for parking. Brown's site would be ideal as has been mentioned before. I don't know the answer as it is a small town, but it's a shame if it puts visitors off, hard enough as well for locals to park...

From Kez Armitage

Monday, 24 October 2016

The parking problem in Hebden Bridge is sadly one that is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

On the one hand we have visitors like Mr Buck, who, quite understandably, want to be able to come to Hebden by car, and be able to park. And it's people like him who are the lifeblood of our little town. But it's not just visitors. I've done the Hope Street/Crown Street circuit in my car many times, hoping a space will appear. After about six circuits, I tend to think 'oh b****r this', and drive off to Lidl or Morrisons in Tod.

On the other hand, we have the 'green' lobby, who'd like us all to use public transport and leave our cars at home. There's nothing wrong with that, too! It's an admirable goal, and I fully support it.

That, in essence, is the problem. Two very reasonable, but conflicting, points of view. The only difference is the 'green' view is an aspiration, the car driver's view is reality.

The thing is, if you have a car, you're going to use it. Otherwise it's sitting in your drive, rapidly depreciating, and making any journey you do in it that bit more expensive. Until public transport is better, cheaper, and more reliable, that situation won't change.

From Dave R

Monday, 24 October 2016

There is a perfectly good and adequate bus service that serves the town. The TLC bus company sell a ticket for around £2.50 that lets you scoot up and down the hilltop villages and around the town. They run frequently and are reliable.

There are also legs. Very few of us have a pair that don't work. Maybe some are slower or Wobblier, but on the whole a lot more people could walk. Look at the parked cars at the train station and through to Hawksclough, every day. There is no need for most people to use them for the pre-commute run.

The solution to the parking 'problem' is easy - Get a bus/ walk/ car-share/ cycle.

From Sally-Anne Buck

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

I live here and it is getting harder and harder to find a parking space. When I come home from work I spend ages driving around trying to find a space. Many times my wing mirrors have been deliberately knocked off, always on the path side, been keyed and 3 weeks ago my windshield was smashed in all when I've had no choice but to park on the Keighley Road. I love Hebden but will be looking to move.

From Paul D

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Interestingly if you look at parking from the perspective of people who don't drive the issues change. Why do you drive short distances and ignore public transport options? Why do people park on pavements and block pedestrian access? Why do people park dangerously, making others walk into the road? Why drive around polluting the town when your legs still work? Why don't people who moan about parking move to Texas and do wheel spins, handbrake turns, buy a whale like vehicle and just enjoy the space and primacy given to them and their vehicle?

Parking is supposed to work for everyone. It's not a birthright. You don't get a little gold plaque and concierge to do it for you. I drive, when I need to, I park, legally and without any great fuss.

From Mike S

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Paul D's response is typical of the environmentalists attitude to Hebden Bridge. Not everyone lives in walking distance of Hebden Bridge or near a bus route. Many still travel a long distance to visit the town, not just locals. While we all agree a clean environment is desirable, a few locals will not support the tourist industry in the town. Along with previous posts, I try to avoid HB and always go to Todmorden for my essential shopping due to its abundant car parking (paid and unpaid), excellent market and easy access by car, train, bus and foot.

From Phil Buck

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Thank you for your responses. I appreciate from the replies the problem is not going away. Difficult one for me as I love my car and the scenic drive from Burnley. I often drop in for a short period for a coffee and a bite to eat. I'm unlikely to use the train or bus but understand the green argument albeit it's not for me. My car does 60+ mph which is my contribution. Looking forward to Lowden Wainwright on Friday. Mal is a genius!!

From Graham Barker

Friday, 28 October 2016

Unless parking capacity rises dramatically - and for my money the only space big enough is the land between the station and the former Walkley's mill - Hebden Bridge's visitor economy may be headed for the rocks. Apart from the implications of some of the posts here, the feedback I get about Hebden from friends and acquaintances has switched in a few years from positive to largely negative, and the common denominator is parking. These are not all 'tourists'; they include people with medical appointments, business appointments, goods to deliver or collect, and in one case a funeral to attend.

The 'let them eat shoe leather' advocates have a point but the overriding reality is that (1) for most car journeys there is no practical alternative, and (2) there are alternatives to Hebden Bridge. When you can't be certain of parking at all, let alone close to where you want to be, you will start going elsewhere. This is happening already. Shopping locally increasingly means Todmorden or Sowerby Bridge, and the latter also already outshines Hebden Bridge on the pub and restaurant front. More stealing of Hebden Bridge's clothes will doubtless follow.

Hebden is unlikely ever to be reduced to filling flasks for cyclists, but that's the direction of economic travel if it continues to offer only pain to car drivers. Five more years of merely rearranging deckchairs and a Hebden that hasn't diversified away from tourism will be struggling.

Remember that when Hebden Bridge was a declining manufacturing town, the future was said to be tourism. So when it's a declining tourist town, the future will be - what? Better start thinking, people.

From Kez Armitage

Friday, 28 October 2016

I generally agree with Graham Barker, that bastion of reason in an otherwise illogical and confused world, but I have to say I take exception to his statement that "(Sowerby Bridge ... already outshines Hebden Bridge on the pub and restaurant front"

We have an eclectic mix of pubs in Hebden Bridge to suit all tastes. To name a few, we've got Yorkshire's first co-operative pub, the Fox and Goose, there's Calan's, the Calder Valley's first micro pub, which has just been awarded "Pub of the Year" by the local CAMRA branch, there's the Old Gate with its great mixture of good food and real ale, two further micro pubs - Drink? and Nadine's - and so many more. We've pubs that, on Boxing Day last year, many of us thought would never reopen, but have emerged, guns blazing! I know real ale isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I reckon there are well over 50 different hand pumps in town.

Meanwhile, down the valley, the wonderful Puzzle Hall in Sowerby Bridge has been closed for a while, and I understand the Works is in administration. Nothing wrong with what remains, but there's not a lot in that town to truly inspire.

But to bring my post back on topic, the one thing about visitors to pubs is that, for obvious reasons, they're more likely to use public transport than cars. Although I have reservations about groups of drinkers flooding into town on a Saturday and Sunday, as seems to be happening more and more, at least the absence of car parking is unlikely to affect them, and let's face it, they're bringing much needed money into our town. And while they're here, the rest of us can leave town and go to quieter places. Sowerby Bridge, perhaps?

From Anthony Rae

Monday, 31 October 2016

The difficulty we have here, as ever, is the false sense of entitlement that motorists have with regard to the provision of parking. We need to remind ourselves of the basic Motorists Proposition: 'In choosing to purchase my own car - because I want to/ can afford to/ need to - I have decided to largely privatise my provision of transport services and will no longer be reliant on public provision such as bus or train. Consequently I can travel when and where I choose'. Fair enough. This has consequences for all those who remain dependent on public transport - because the incremental withdrawal of fare revenue by ex-motorists progressively undermines its financial viability, resulting in higher fares for those left - but still it remains a basic right to opt out.

So the motorist steps into their car - which usually they have left outside or near their house on the public highway or pavement but (again usually) without having rented the space they've been occupying there and the costs they've imposed on others by obstructing their easy passage - drives on to their destination, and then (and here's the sense of entitlement) expects to be able to abandon that vehicle somewhere for an often considerable length of time before they return to use it again. It's called parking. But (and here's the problem) the public authorities such as councils are under no statutory responsibility to provide parking spaces, so if organisations whether private or public choose to do so, they must or should be doing it on (semi-)market terms.

But (and here's the contradiction):

  • motorists continue to insist on the False Entitlement implicit in their proposition: 'someone else' has the responsibility to provide them with a parking space, wherever and whenever they turn up, even though that's not true.
  • but reject a market response*: that if some organisation does step in to provide parking spaces, then they need to charge market prices in order to meet costs and balance supply and demand as happens everywhere else throughout a market system. Instead motorists expect to be provided spaces at under market price, or free; and lobby determinedly to prevent market pricing. Whereas when someone buys their train or bus ticket, they know that the need to provide for the parking of that vehicle when they are no longer using it has already been organised for them and paid for. (*Of course those that e.g pay for and occupy a contract space do not.)
  • and then object to the subsequent inevitable market outcome: sufficient parking spaces aren't made available; if not market-priced the spaces are used inefficiently; and if either car parks or the road network in general are not properly priced then they become full up. Which is why there are now 32m cars in the UK - with the number having increased by 4m in the last 15 years - trying to crowd onto an area of roads and car parks that is essentially fixed except at the margin. What did they expect would happen in these circumstances?

This is economics ABC, but it's ignored by motorists because it's in their financial interests to do so. Instead they just continue to assert the expectations around their False Entitlement ('the town needs to welcome me and my car'), that the world will come tumbling down if these are not met ('Hebden Bridge's visitor economy may be headed for the rocks'), and to oppose more efficient pricing of the existing and inevitably limited number of parking spaces here in Hebden ('…an average of 87% saying no to any increased charges in the valley' – UCVR parking fee survey, September 2016).

If someone wants to suggest that motorists can't afford market pricing of parking spaces I suggest they reflect on this graph. Then we could add in the cost to all our citizens of the already legally non-compliant air pollution in Hebden, because more parking spaces would only get to be filled if more cars drive here. That cost is illness and premature deaths. And the cost of climate change, with transport now the largest emitting sector in the UK at 24% and rising; that cost being ... flooding.

So when the originator of this thread says 'I love my car and the scenic drive from Burnley', and 'I'm unlikely to use the train' even though the rail journey here is actually quicker, is it the case that we just can't afford this disregard for the economics of everything?

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

As usual a very astute post from Kez, and I appreciate his opening comments. He's right that no one should disparage Hebden Bridge for the quality and variety of its pubs and beers, though my own peak beer years are long over and I rely on others to do the enthusing.

The point I wanted to make was that Sowerby Bridge seems to be attracting growing numbers of diners and drinkers, irrespective of their discernment and irrespective of occasional failures such as the Works. Other town centre pubs are heaving, and not just at weekends, so lack of potential customers probably wasn't the problem.

Kez is also correct that Sowerby Bridge doesn't have much 'to truly inspire', but give it time - the potential is there. Same with Todmorden. And does it matter anyway? Short of wasting a week with a clipboard my bet is that by comparison with Hebden Bridge, visitors to Sowerby Bridge spend more and aimlessly walk around less. That probably suits the people and businesses of Sowerby Bridge just fine.

From Julie C

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

I understand that to buy a car in Singapore a driver must bid for a COE Certificate of Entitlement currently costing 80,000 SPD (SPD is worth 59p) I imagine it makes owning one unusual. In Hebden many families now have multiple cars.

In the 70s, very few people living in Hebden had a private car, the streets were quieter for pedestrians, much safer for children walking to school. Lots of people worked locally in those days and walked, got the bus or road a bike. I know most now travel out of the district to work, and for some a car is unavoidable, but many only drive as far as the station.

I think we need to look towards a future not dominated by the car, Hebden is becoming impossible for car drivers, and uncomfortable for pedestrians. The town wasn't built for the car. Keighley Road is an example. It is permanently gridlocked.

Photos in the recent Local History exhibition at the Methodist Hall showed the route up to the Crags packed with tourists, all dressed in their Sunday best, walking - as many as 5,000, even 12,000 people on one weekend, mostly arriving by train.

We've just got less used to walking. I think the private car will need to become the exception, available to those who through age or disability can't walk. The Crags are no further from Hebden than they were in the C19th!

In the last few years, having had to return my licence on health grounds, I've had to get used to being car-less. Sometimes it's a hassle - going to the Tip for example - mostly it's fine. I walk a lot, use the bus and train, and the local taxis, get a few lifts from friends - I've discovered a car is seldom a necessity.

So come on all of you, let's set the date and try for a car free week locally, just see what it's like.

From Vikki Uttley

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

We didn't get a car free week but a car free few hours when the Tour de France was coming through Hebden Bridge, and it was wonderful not looking out for traffic all the time, just being able to amble up and down the roads. I love to amble, oh and the race.

From Colin C

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

I think this discussion is a perfect example of the conflict that occurs when there's a debate characterised on one side by people trying to live in current reality and adapt to that reality, and those on the other side of the fence who are focused on what the reality should be.

The truth is that visitors to our town should come by foot/bike/public transport. The reality is that they aren't going to do that in sufficient numbers to keep the shops that rely on them in business. Not when they can go elsewhere.

So either find a way of increasing parking or stand by principles and lose visitors. Simple. But difficult.

From Myra James

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Julie C. and Vikki Uttley, I so agree with you both. A car-free week would be great but perhaps ambitious. I would very much like to repeat that joyful day when the Tour de France came through. The A646 full of happy, smiling people, walking and cycling. Can we do it again please, with or without the addition of a cycle race?

From Anne H

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Colin C. I was thinking the same thing. I would love to see a reduction in the number of cars on the roads, especially for non-essential journeys. But the fact is that the shops and cafes of Hebden Bridge need to welcome everyone, no matter how they get here. That includes people like me - of which I know there are many. I live in one of the hilltop villages and have to drive to work and often stop in Hebden on my way out or back to pick up a few groceries, meat, veg, a paper etc or visit the doctor, dentist or optician etc. If I can't park in Hebden Bridge I will go somewhere else. And so will many others.

Ironically, the job - that I need my car for - involves interviewing people about their travel patterns! I feel very disheartened by the number of people who never take the bus or walk even when it would be a perfectly reasonable alternative to the car. And sadly, the prospect of not being able to park in Hebden Bridge is not likely to get them onto public transport. They are more likely to just go somewhere else where they can park

From Caroline M

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

I also agree with people saying what a brilliant day the car free bit of the Tour de France was, and it would be lovely to have some more of that. Other places have experimented with small scale car free events and it works well.

On the more general thing about parking, there are lots of beliefs about parking bringing more shoppers and visitors to a place than we would get with decent public transport and a pleasant town for wandering around. The evidence from other places does not really support those beliefs though – this is something that has been looked at. On top of that less cars makes a safer healthier place for everyone, and there is plenty of evidence for that - if anyone wants a list of evidence I am happy to supply.

From Michael Prior

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Can I make a small suggestion which would not solve the problem but might nudge us towards a better future. Could the Council put up 3 or 4 power-charging points in one of the carparks and then reserve those spaces for electric cars. It might nudge people out of the diesel SUVs and into smaller and more environmentally friendly vehicles.

From Nigel W

Thursday, 3 November 2016

I have lived here all my life and gave up trying to park in Hebden years ago. I do a weekly shop in Halifax and only pick up or drop off people in Hebden. Which is a shame but what else can locals do. I am not prepared to drive round in circles getting frustrated trying to park. When I visit the doctors I try and get appointments at Grange dene as I know I will be able to park.

Unfortunately, Hebden was not designed for cars and never will be and the influx of visitors only makes things worse. Just look at Fallingroyd nowadays. How long will it be before a serious accident happens there? I notice even the Co-op has reduced its parking spaces.

I seem to remember the parking issue was raised years back when they wanted to make Garden Street car park bigger. Then it all got out of hand with silly plans. Then the whole thing slowly died and nothing has happened since.

From Dorothy A. Hebden

Thursday, 3 November 2016

The commentary of Anthony Rae has been thoughtfully composed and addresses the real problems of the future of Hebden Bridge re land use, pollution and gridlock.

If more parking lots are created the demand for more parking lots will surface.

Perhaps a large place,( not in the Village), be determined for parking and a shuttle running regularly into town is a possible solution.

How many persons visit, daily,weekly and longer? What is the actual return for all the visitors on a yearly basis, including lodging, food, shopping and entertainment?


From Ian M

Friday, 4 November 2016

As always there is an alternative viewpoint to a car free week
Remove all the on street parking from the A646. Get rid of the traffic lights and put in mini roundabouts, make Albert Street one way and watch how easily traffic flows through town.

Hebden doesn't exist in isolation. There are towns and villages in both directions. Why should they be cut off just to appease tourists.

From Paul D

Saturday, 5 November 2016

This 'flow' thing is just pure nonsense. We have air pollution that breaches safe levels, not just now and then, but virtually all the time. It's recorded, it's noxious, buggies on Market Street should be covered. The response of our local authority was to improve traffic flow, so now you have crossings where the lights phase against the people who live here. In favour of those driving through. The smart arses in Halifax and beyond thought that if they keep the cars moving they reduce pollution. Yes. But by phasing all lights in favour of traffic flow means that we and our children stand and breathe the noxious fumes for longer. Much longer. And they promote tourism, so cars drive round and round, incessantly. Looking for a space.

Stand at the cinema crossing, press the button, and wait. And wait. Wait some more. Let the fact that your life means nothing sink in, then wait. Breathe in the fumes of the traffic and wait. Then try the same in Todmorden, any crossing you like. Oh! You matter. Pressing the button stops the traffic. But in Hebden Bridge it's all about the 'flow' of traffic, not the increased flow of particulates into our lungs as our streets crammed with cars driving in circles pass by you for the fourth time. It's obviously going to be like Cape and kill some of us, before it's resolved. Right now we don't matter.

Driving is a really silly solution to entirely the wrong question, such as 'what's the least efficient way for me to get what I need without giving a damn about anyone else?' Surely parking should be reduced (time limited) and not increased? Tourism by car should be discouraged? The economic argument is flawed. It doesn't factor in early death or ill health. The tourist economy argument is flawed, our 'income' from tourism includes for example estimates of what pubs and resteraunts sell to erm... people who live here. Even bed occupancy had no regard for beds occupied by those visiting their family. It's fake. An economic mirage. Fletcherism. An income for a few. Nonsense to the majority. Breathe it in, suck it up and die. Press the button and try cross the street where you live - you are irrelevant.


From Mike S

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Ian M makes a good point. But why not go one step further - double yellow lines on the A646 between HB and Mytholmroyd and on the A6033 Keighley Road from Albert Street to Midgehole Road. This would remove all the incoming/outgoing congestion and make these roads safer for cyclists. We can then see all the for sale signs springing up when people can't park near their homes or to get the commuter trains in the morning. At least the environmentalists will be able to enjoy their utopia and continue to ignore the present day reality.

From Paul Clarke

Sunday, 6 November 2016

I wonder if when we return to the glory days of horse and carts we will be able to park them in town.

Or will we then be debating the environmental impact of excess manure?

From Howard Richardson

Sunday, 6 November 2016

As a previous local'ish resident and now a regular visitor to Hebden Bridge, I have had issues with car parking. I often meet family or friends, for a walk and or lunch. I regularly introduce friends to Hebden. It is a brilliant and unique town.

I now try and park at Mytholmroyd and walk up the canal to Hebden. Maybe car parks there could be signposted and highlighted as alternatives? Maybe land near Walkleys clogs could be utilised?

Or maybe when all car parks are full it is just an indication that the town is at capacity? As a visitor rather than a resident I realise that it must be a nightmare at times to try and go about daily life.

More short stay places may help with GP appointments shopping etc. I realise that tourism is an important income for the town, but Hebden Bridge's quality is that it's a vibrant bustling town and community, not just a tourist attraction!

I am sure the creative minds of Hebden can come up with a balanced innovative solution to the parking issue - I hope so! Good luck!

From Phil Buck

Monday, 7 November 2016

I initiated this discussion as a driver who regularly visits Hebden Bridge; often on a whim when I have a couple of hours free and certainly on a Sunday afternoon.

I eat; maybe have a coffee, buy sweets and browse the various shops. I often bring my wife, kids and now grand kids.

This wasn't about the virtues of public transport and political argument over car ownership. Albeit these points are well versed and read.
This was about people deciding to go elsewhere given the parking problems.

For the first time, on Sunday afternoon, we decided not to come. Not worth the drive to find no parking spaces...
Now that's a fact.

From David H

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

It is unfortunate that the owners of the ex-fire station land decided to close it off on the day that they didn't get their planning permission. That was 20 or 30 parking spaces gone overnight.

From Dave R

Friday, 11 November 2016

"This wasn't about the virtues of public transport and political argument over car ownership. Albeit these points are well versed and read.
This was about people deciding to go elsewhere given the parking problems".

Bit of a chicken and an egg situation though Phil.

If we had less houses built on hillsides without parking we would be OK.
But then we wouldn't be a quaint little mill town with independent shop, that everyone likes to drive to and mooch around for an hour or two at weekend.


Parking continued Feb-March 2015

HebWeb Forum: Plans for large car park near station (Dec 2014)

HebWeb Forum: Parking (October 2013)

HebWeb Forum: Parking at Walkleys (Aug-Sept 2013)

HebWeb Forum: Parking Charges (Dec-Jan)

HebWeb Forum: Limited Parking Affecting Business (Nov 2011)

HebWeb Forum: Garden street car parking (2007)