Leeds Minster Sunday service parking charge warning

Leeds Minster Leeds Minster has launched a petition against the introduction of Sunday parking charges

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The introduction of Sunday parking charges in Leeds could lead to a fall in church congregation numbers, the rector of Leeds Minster has warned.

In February, councillors provisionally approved an end to free off-peak parking in the city centre as they face £55m cuts in the next financial year.

Leeds Minster rector Canon Tony Bundock said it would be a "disincentive" to people attending city centre churches.

A final decision on introducing charges has yet to be made, the council said.

The authority said charging in council-owned car parks on Sundays and weekday evenings could generate an additional £200,000 a year.

'Spiritual activity'

Canon Bundock said while Leeds Minster had about 40 parking spaces, they were insufficient to cope with the numbers attending Sunday services so people were forced to park elsewhere.

"It's really not good news for them to have to face the prospect of paying for what's essentially a spiritual activity," he said.

A petition against the move had been launched by the Minster and a protest letter signed by the leaders of a number of city centre churches had been sent to the council, said Canon Bundock.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said no firm proposals had been made for restructuring parking charges.

"We are currently considering the results of the consultation carried out earlier this year, which will enable us to put together proposals which would include the amount and extent of any possible charges," she said.

A final decision would be made later in the year, she added.

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