Changes to city centre parking

Rishworth Street multi-storey car park
Rishworth Street multi-storey car park

A PARK and ride system, free hospital bus service and extra parking spaces could soon be created as part of a multi-million pound shake up of city centre parking.

Wakefield Council is considering the changes to reflect demand on existing car parks by visitors and workers.

Recent developments, including The Hepworth and Trinity Walk, are seeing more people travelling into the city.

And the council is working with businesses to make sure parking is top of its agenda.

Four areas have been identified as possible sites for a park and ride system, which could ease congestion and pressure on the 30 city centre car parks.

The council is also in the process of putting up colour-coded signs and in May will introduce a digital system telling drivers how many spaces are left in the top four car parks at Rishworth Street, Trinity Walk, The Ridings and Merchant Gate

It has also created 100 £2.50 all-day parking spaces at Chantry House.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said: “Parking is getting to be a very big problem.

“It is a different city to what it was 15 years ago when we first started looking at this.

“We can’t stand still and need to keep coming up with new initiatives to make it easier and better for businesses and shoppers.

“We need to compete with other places and getting the balance right with our parking is key.”

Coun Jeffery said parking charges at Pinderfields Hospital had resulted in more people opting for free on-street parking.

The council is also launching a massive consultation with Eastmoor residents after identifying 50 streets which are used by around 500 drivers for free parking. One option could be to introduce residents only parking.

There are currently 4,500 long stay and 800 short stay spaces in the centre, with the majority owned by private companies.

The Ridings, Trinity Walk and Rishworth Street car parks are currently being under used, but an extra 1,200 workers are expected at the new Wakefield 1 site, which has no parking. In the spring half hour on-street parking in Cross Street, Providence Street, Wood Street and Sun Lane are to be increased to a limit of one hour.