THE joint-owner of a Bradford taxi firm has said that "changes to traffic flow" is discouraging people from visiting Bradford city centre, while also claiming that it is having a negative impact on air quality.
Imran Khan, of Leap Private Hire, says that the addition of new bus and cycle lanes and two lane roads being reduced to one - amongst other factors - are making it "hard to move around" Bradford city centre.
Mr Khan says that the changes have caused more congestion in the city centre, which is putting people off coming into town, he says, and also claims that they will result in reduced air quality.
"Over the last week or so, I have noticed the traffic around Bradford city centre building up", he says.
"This has caused tailbacks on Hall Ings, Leeds Road, Godwin Street and on several other routes coming in and out of the city centre.
"This is because there have been changes to traffic flow - new bus lanes have been added, two lane roads have reduced to one lane, several cycle lanes have been added, while problems with parking also persist.
"This is all having a knock-on effect and making it harder to move around Bradford city centre."
"To be honest, Bradford city centre isn't the best place to go for shopping, it isn't friendly to car users, in terms of parking.
"By implementing these new measures, I believe that Bradford Council is discouraging people from going into the city centre, while also making the air quality worse.
"Over the last few years, there have been talks about implementing a congestion charge for Bradford city centre, and the licensing department telling the private hire trade that we should get ready for an all-electric vehicle policy to be introduced.
"I’ve attended meetings and given my opinion, but not had any feedback from the licensing department.
"The clean air zone policy has been scrapped or put on hold in other cities, but from what I’ve been told, Bradford is still pushing for it."
A spokesperson from Bradford Private Hire Operators Association said: "We wholeheartedly agree with Mr Khan's view on this issue.
"These changes will create extra congestion and, as Mr Khan says, will discourage people from coming into Bradford city centre.
"We want people to come into our city centre and do their shopping here, rather than going elsewhere.
"So, we think these changes have been a negative move from the council, which will create congestion and won't help air quality, either."
Earlier this week, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for Healthy People and Healthy Places, said that improving the district's air quality was an important issue for the council.
She said: “Improving the air quality of the district remains a major priority for Bradford Council.
"We absolutely recognise the seriousness of poor air quality. Quite literally, it costs lives.
“This is why we are working closely with the government to put in place a wide range of interventions to reduce pollution in the shortest possible time across the district, not just within the proposed clean air zone.
“Having completed our consultation process, we are on track to finalise our business case with the government in the next month, in order to implement a clean air zone in 2022.”