St Annes is in danger of being turned into a “ghost town” because of an ongoing row over parking, business chiefs in the town have claimed.
Arnold Sumner and Andrew Smith, working with the St Annes Chamber of Trade, have now appealed to Fylde Council insisting it takes immediate action to improve parking in the town.
Close to 200 businesses have signed up to a petition to urge the council to act so far.
Mr Sumner, Chamber co-ordinator, said: “It’s distressing to see how many good shops have disappeared and how many are on the brink of closure. We still have many excellent attractions but why is so little being done to stop the town’s painful and disastrous decline?
“Sorting out the parking would be a good – and essential – start.”
The petition urges three actions – to remove a series of double yellow lines across the town, to restrict the existing central car parks to two hours and be either more affordable or free and finally to extend on-road parking to two hours.
Mr Smith added: “If my ancestors – who were among the founders of St Annes – could see the decline in their beloved ‘jewel of the north’, they would be turning in their graves.
“Little independent shops closing by the dozen, the disgraceful demolition of many of our landmark buildings, tourism facilities increasingly unkempt and expensive.
“What is happening to St Annes? The shops, offices and cafés have spoken as one voice – they want the parking in St Annes sorted and now.
“Our councillors must take note of such a strong petition.”
The pair plan to deliver the petition to Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council as well as Eric Pickles MP, secretary of state for communities and local government and high street regeneration guru Mary Portas.
A Fylde Council spokesman said: “We are aware that the town council has been working on proposals for parking in the town centre and discussions were started in a meeting last month between St Annes Town Council, Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council.
“We have discussed these concerns and are very aware of concerns about parking. We look forward to receiving their petition and it will be given full consideration in due course.”