The traffic regulation order included changes to bus stops and taxi ranks, new cycle features and pedestrian zones, changes to parking and rerouting of traffic.
The consultation was open from Monday 6 February to midnight on Sunday 5 March 2023.
The consultation was advertised on Calderdale TraffWeb where the public could see the proposals on a map of Halifax and zoom in to see the detail. The public could comment and offer feedback on the proposals using TraffWeb. Printed copies of the proposals were made available to those who asked for them, and for public viewing at the Halifax BID shop in Woolshops Shopping Centre. There was also an overall plan of the proposals on the Next Chapter webpages.
The opportunity to take part in the consultation was shared via:
A press release was issued on the Calderdale Council news website: Have your say as plans develop for Halifax town centre scheme. It was endorsed by Cllr Jane Scullion, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Strategy. The press office coordinated the release and shared it with news outlets.
One thousand and eight hundred letters were posted to town centre residents and businesses, sharing the opportunity to give feedback.
The opportunity to take part in the consultation was added to the live consultations page. The press release was added to the Calderdale Next Chapter website: Have your say as plans develop for Halifax town centre and an update was added to the progress section on the A629 phase 2 Halifax town centre project page.
2944 emails were sent to those people who have subscribed to the Next Chapter mailing list with news about the consultation and instructions on how to take part.
The opportunity to take part in the consultation on Calderdale Next Chapter pages was posted on twitter and Facebook and the posts were shared from Calderdale Council equivalent pages.
Emails and letters were sent to 49 Statutory Consultees and other interested groups including emergency services, bus operators, taxi providers, cycling forums, and disability groups.
Fifty-two Elected Members were invited to a meeting where an overview of project was presented. Seven Members attended, representing Skircoat, Ovenden, Northowram & shelf, Illingworth & Mixenden and Sowerby Bridge wards. The same presentation was made to Halifax Town Board, which was attended by Town Councillors, Neighbourhood Police and 25 members of the public.
The public could respond directly in TraffWeb, via email, or post their response. Customer First received feedback too, in their role as the customer contact team for Calderdale Council. These responses were also collected.
Traffweb was viewed 1681 times. Thirty-nine responses were received to the consultation via Traffweb and 38 email responses. Traffweb provided a tick box option for ‘support’, ‘object’ or ‘general comment’ as well as space to comment. In total, 4 supported the proposals, 25 made objections and 48 offered general feedback.
Some of the key themes in the feedback included:
People asked for clarity on the impact of the proposals on bus routes and journeys.
Some were concerned that there was a lack of free parking. Others had concerns about the focus on walking and public transport, and a perceived reduction in car traffic having a negative impact on business. Also, whether there would be loading areas for residents.
There was support for new secure parking for motorcycles and a request for consideration of parking and locking facilities.
A concern was raised about the Council having “signed up to the 15-minute cities policy.”
There was a request for clarity on the number of taxi spaces to be included in the proposals in the vicinity of Market Street.
People raised concerns about enforcement of current restrictions and how vehicle access will be managed after the changes are made.
There were concerns about short cycle lanes, and others raised concerns about the impact of cycle lanes on congestion and pollution.
People raised a concern that they would have to drive around the town rather than take a more direct route. There was a concern that Bailey Hall Road may experience more traffic and about changes in direction of traffic flow at Powell Street. It was raised that visibility at the exit from Matalan could be improved.
People asked questions about the Wards End junction and access to a private car park.
There was a concern raised about roads being closed off to vehicles.
There were requests for signage to shopping areas and short-stay parking be included as part of the proposals.
There was some concern on the impact the changes may have on ability for some businesses to accept deliveries.
There were requests for specific types of planting to be included in the proposals, and for artificial grass not to be used.
Concerns were raised about the potential for trees to be removed.
There were concerns raised that the visualisations depicted proposals that were not in line with current DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) guidance. Clarification was sought on locations for dropping off and picking up. Some people were concerned about the number of available disabled parking spaces.
There was a request for charging points to be included in the proposals.
There were concerns that the TraffWeb platform that was used to share details of the proposals was not user friendly and sometimes did not work for people using a mobile phone. Some people raised issues where the content on TraffWeb was unclear or inaccurate. Some people found it difficult to compare the proposals against the existing layout.
Some of the feedback received related to matters that, although related to Halifax town centre, were outside the remit of the A629 phase 2 project or the consultation. In these situations, a response was sent with helpful advice about where the respondent may better direct their feedback.
Supportive comments were received for the project from a local church, a local attraction, a local business and a member of the public.
Direct responses were sent where appropriate, for example when people had a specific question or requested clarity that the Council could provide. Where people highlighted inaccurate information, it was updated. All comments are being reviewed as work on delivering the A629 phase 2 Halifax town centre project progresses. Alternative layouts will be explored where appropriate.
All the feedback relating to bus stops and routes has been taken on board. The Council is working with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and bus operators who will share details of changes for buses.
The Council has taken on board all the feedback relating to specific sites for parking. Further reassurances will be provided where there were common misconceptions. The scheme has been designed to ensure more people can come into Halifax town centre, more easily, and the Council will continue to share the designs as they develop.
Motorcycle parking with secure locking facilities is proposed at Alfred Street East and Bull Green. Other locations are being investigated.
Clarity was provided on the number of taxi spaces to be included in the proposals. Discussions are continuing with taxi companies to provide the most appropriate locations for ranks.
Rising bollards will be installed on Market Street to restrict access for vehicles attempting to drive through. Access will be available for loading at certain times.
The Council has no specific “15 minute cities” policy and, aiming to improve walking, cycling and public transport is in no way intended to restrict general movement.
Reassurances were offered about the impact of proposals on congestion, and the design of the cycle infrastructure.
The Council has shared and will continue to share details of the routes vehicles will be able to take around the town once the project is complete. The general principle of Halifax’s ‘zones and loops’ traffic system remains the same.
Signage has been included in the proposals.
Where potential issues were identified for businesses accepting deliveries, the Council will be undertaking a wider review of the intended restrictions and where appropriate considering alternatives.
The Council will work with the design consultant to look at whether requests for specific types of planting can be accommodated in the proposals. There are no plans to use artificial grass.
Some trees will be removed to provide new road layouts and public space. Many more trees are proposed - over twice as many as are being removed.
The proposals meet DDA guidance. There is no reduction in the number of disabled parking spaces, and some are to be relocated closer to key pedestrian areas.
It is acknowledged that the information shared on TraffWeb was not as easy to understand or as accessible as people might have liked. It was the first time this system was used for traffic regulation order consultations in Calderdale. Future consultations on this scheme will be split into smaller areas and will include only what is changing. Users will be able to view the existing layout separately for comparison – an option that was not available last time.
The Council’s Major Projects team are working to deliver the A629 phase 2 Halifax town centre project. You can continue to offer your feedback on the proposals as they develop. There will be opportunities to take part in further consultation soon.
Thank you to all those who took the time to look at and understand the proposals and shared their feedback.