AN ILKLEY councillor has written to Bradford Council's transport chief to spell out her grave concerns about the detrimental effect the car parking scheme is having on the lives of Ilkley residents and businesses.

In a letter hand delivered this week, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley) appeals to Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport at Bradford Council, to take action now to alleviate the "severe upset" the scheme is causing.

Residents and business owners have reported to Cllr Hawkesworth their growing frustrations and anger since the plan was introduced on July 29.

One resident told Cllr Hawkesworth: "Our daily lives have been thrown into chaos with it and I am aware of confrontation already between residents and non-residents."

A business owner said: "I am concerned for the impact on the town. Town is very quiet."

In her letter to Cllr Ross-Shaw, Cllr Hawkesworth says: "The detrimental effects of the introduction of the “plan” were compounded by two factors. Firstly, you introduced revenue raising initiatives into what was supposed to be a parking management scheme. This is clearly the case because the estimated net revenue is included in the Council’s current budget.

"It is perfectly clear that motorists are largely boycotting the pay and display on-street parking areas and car parks in Railway Road and Leeds Road as evidenced by the large number of empty spaces. The effects of this are extra pressure on parking on non-regulated streets and reductions in patronage for Ilkley’s traders.

"Secondly, at a late date, you imposed large numbers (rumour says 1,000 or 1,300) of business parking permits on a scheme which was not designed to accommodate them, and indeed was intended to exclude such parking. The permits have largely been allocated to residential streets, in many cases the very streets on which it was intended to alleviate non-resident parking pressure, with the result that the parking pressure is much worse than it was before the scheme began.

"Furthermore many residential streets which had no parking pressure before are now suffering severely because of an influx of authorised business parking.

"Frankly, the Council will have to reduce its expectation of the revenue possibilities from parking in Ilkley. Firstly, because motorists are avoiding paying, and secondly because the Council must accept that business permits will have to be allocated to the spaces designated for pay and display to relieve the intolerable disruption to the lives of those on the streets affected.

"Council officers blithely talk of reviewing the situation after “four or six weeks”. This would mean a delay of months. That is simply not acceptable.

"Lives are being turned upside down and business and livelihoods are rapidly moving nearer the edge. Action is needed now, and perhaps in future you will pay heed to any responses you receive during any consultation."

Speaking to the Gazette, Cllr Ross-Shaw pointed to the many positive comments the parking scheme has received on social media, with many saying it has made it easier to pop into Ilkley to shop.

He said: "Councillor Hawkesworth spent nearly ten years demanding this review. We’ve responded to her request but she now seems determined to deny it was anything to do with her.

"When the proposals were put forward Cllr Hawkesworth asked what could be done to accommodate people working in the town centre. Now we have introduced special permits for town centre workers she complains about them.

"The parking issues in Ilkley go back many years and this is the first time anyone has tried to properly address the matter. We are listening to residents and businesses and we know that there are areas that need further consideration. We have already reallocated several dozen permits to mitigate demand and that process is continuing.

"We're monitoring usage of the pay and display areas and while some of the long stay is currently underused during the holidays the short stay in the town centre is seeing strong demand. It's simply not true that they're not being used. Cllr Hawkesworth needs to engage with the facts."