Reprieve for Leeds car parks

Seven all day car parks that were earmarked for closure in the New Year will stay open until at least the summer.

The 2,500 illegal long-stay car parking spaces at Globe Road, Sweet Street, Trent Street, Ingram Street, Ingram Row and Water Lane will remain open while an "urgent" review takes place.

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Council officers are taking on board complaints from motorists who claim that an immediate closure of the car parks would cause them difficulties and add to city centre congestion, as first reported in the YEP.

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Dozens of outraged motorists said the decision would not stop them driving to work.

Many claimed that the closures would force them to drive further into the city centre in search of alternate parking.

Company bosses based in the area also criticised the decision that they said would damage business.

The council's city centre plans panel decided last month that long-stay

car parks went against a policy to reduce congestion and a policy to encourage people onto public transport.

But the planning decision to close the car parks has now been suspended.

The car parks will remain open until a review is completed and a new policy is in place by the summer of 2011.

The enforcement action was triggered when an independent inspector ruled that the car parks were illegal as the owners did not have the necessary planning permission.

Any car parks that are permitted to remain open following the review will have to secure planning permission.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member responsible for city development, said: "We are suspending enforcement to stop workers being hit as they face the New Year and avoid disruption to the local


"Long-stay car parking is vital for many commuters working in the city and we are keen to make sure nothing hurts the local economy, especially at a challenging economic time.

"That is why we have decided not to close the car parks, but to hold a full and comprehensive review which will take account of all the views of those concerned about this issue, the impact of car parking provision on the local economy, the alternative public transport

options available to people and the need to tackle congestion."

The review will include public consultation.

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