BUSINESSES on Bradford’s North Parade have hit out at the Council’s decision to introduce Sunday parking charges on the street.

A number of people have taken to social media to share their anger at the situation.

Karen Lee, owner of the Sing Kee Supermarket, shared the above picture showing a number of cars with tickets on and said Sunday used to be one of the busiest days, but customers have now been pushed back to Leeds.

“When they see a traffic warden, they just don’t want to come,” she said.

“Even when they don’t get a ticket.”

The situation is all the more frustrating, as she has spent a great deal of time in building the supermarket up as the place to go.

Gavin Colley wrote on Twitter in response to the image: “That’s not good at all. They should just remove the charges on a Sunday. These people will probably not come back to Bradford. I get that the council are short of cash, but money raised from paying for parking won’t change the world.”

Jim DeBarker added: “Entirely predictable, utter stupidity from the council doing everything they can to damage the livelihoods of those who invest their life savings in the city.

“Road closure protests are being planned for peak times unless these charges are scrapped.”

Matthew Barnes added: “It’s not about the minimal £1 charge, it’s about wanting to catch people out and the fines they’ll receive!”

While another user ‘P13’ said: “This is why there are businesses that won’t even consider a presence in BD1, it’s too much risk.”

Keith Wildman, owner of The Record Cafe on North Parade, has spoken with dismay at the situation.

He’s raised concern over a lack of publicity and claims he’s learnt the objection he submitted back in October - signed by 25 businesses - was never seen.

In that objection, writing on behalf of The Record Cafe and other businesses and customers of North Parade, he said: “Nationally, the high street has suffered its biggest drop in sales in 22 years.

“Bradford in particular is suffering amongst the worst, and as of mid-2018 had the third highest percentage of empty city centre units in England and Wales.

“The situation is amplified at the ‘top of town’ in Bradford and on North Parade, where the majority of bars have either been sold, moved, or put up for sale.

“Boyes has relocated due to the proposal of John Street Market closing, whilst the Council’s current focus on the bottom end of town and Broadway has seen footfall on the street continue to decline and an increase in antisocial behaviour. “

He said the eventual closure of the market will lead the situation to deteriorate further and added: “Against this backdrop (when even some of the biggest retailers in the country are seeking rent reductions just to survive) it is impossible for myself and other retailers and businesses on the street to see how increasing parking hours to include charging after 6pm on weekdays and a parking charge on a Sunday will help us in attracting visitors to the city centre.

Bradford city centre is extremely quiet after 6pm during the week and on Sundays the city centre is practically deserted.

“The people that do chose to venture in at these times, rather than head elsewhere, need to be rewarded, not punished.

“We need to offer visitors every incentive to come to Bradford city centre during these quiet times.”

He told the Telegraph & Argus that it seemed a “completely illogical move”.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Sunday parking charges have been in place across most of the Council-run parking spaces in the city centre for the past few years and are well-established in private sector operators such as the shopping centres and multi-storey car parks.

“Changes to parking charges were originally referenced in the Council’s budget released in December 2018 and the formal notice with the specific details was publicised in the usual way in October 2019.

“We’re now aware that businesses on North Parade submitted a petition but unfortunately we didn’t receive it. This may be due to a technical issue and we have asked our IT department to investigate this further as a matter of urgency.

“The vast majority of tickets issued on North Parade over this weekend weren’t for the new charges as we operate a grace period allowing people to get used to any changes in parking charges.

"The tickets referred to were for other infringements such as parking in suspended bays.

“However one ticket relating to the new charges was issued by mistake and will be cancelled.”