Leeds nostalgia: February 1983 saw the end of free parking

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Nowadays its hard to find a parking space at all in city centres never mind a free one. Before February 1983, however, motorists had the privilege of parking anywhere on the street for free

Leeds Labour councillor Ken Patterson was responsible for the controversial scheme where drivers would buy 10p parking books from shops, council offices and petrol stations, allowing them to park in a specific area of the city.

The scheme was initially opposed by both Labour and Conservative councillors along with most of the public.

However, Coun Patterson was keen to highlight the benefits. He claimed the new scheme would reduce waiting times for street parking as it would be more difficult for drivers to overstay their limit and would also bring in a profit of £350,000 a year if it was implemented around the entire county of West Yorkshire.

Of course, it was still possible to get a free parking space in Leeds up to a few years ago, so long as it was after 6pm. Controversially, Leeds City Council abolished free overnight parking in the city centre.

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