Shock at County Council's parking fees plan

Traders have reacted with shock and dismay to the prospect of pay and display parking possibly being introduced to Fylde and Wyre's shopping streets.

Wednesday, 28th November 2018, 1:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th November 2018, 1:10 pm
Park Street, Lytham, one of the roads which could be affected if the proposals go ahead

Lytham, Cleveleys and Poulton are on a list of potential locations for pay machines to replace time-limited free parking around Lancashire as the County Council looks to make major cash savings.

It’s among a set of budget proposals to be discussed by members of the Cabinet at County Hall on Monday – and although areas such as St Annes and Fleetwood aren’t on the provisional list, it appears there is a chance that might also be affected.

One Lytham shopkeeper who has operated in the town centre for more than 30 years slammed the prospect of charging for on-street parking as ‘another nail in the coffin’ for local businesses’ while another long-standing business owner greeted it as ‘crazy and short-sighted’

Marc Whitehead, who has run the Exquisite Shoes shop in Clifton Street, said: “I can’t believe they are even considering this.

“The one-hour time limit for free parking on Clifton Street is restricting enough. We have been trying for years to get that extended for two hours.

“To now even suggest that drivers might have to pay to park in those spaces is an absolute disgrace and another nail in the coffin of the local high street when we are trying so hard to encourage as much business as possible,”

Alison Plackitt, co-owner of the Plackitt and Booth bookshop, said: “It is an absolutely crazy idea so short-sighted.

“If this comes in, it will make it even more difficult to attract customers when there are out of town retail areas offering unlimited free parking.”

On-street pay and display sites are already a very familiar sight in Blackpool, but that is a unitary authority and not affected by the County Council proposals.

The only on-street pay and display spaces within the Lancashire authority are at Preston and Lancaster, but Lytham has appeared on the list to go before the Cabinet along with Carnforth, Chorley, Cleveleys, Clitheroe, Colne, Nelson, Ormskirk, Padiham, Poulton and Whalley.

But it seems no particular locations have actually been ruled in or out of the proposal and the list as published on the Cabinet agenda is a provisional one for discussion.

A County Council spokesman said: “There is currently a limited amount of on-street parking where charging applies throughout the county, with 217 spaces in Lancaster and Preston only.

“The budget proposal to be discussed by cabinet is to expand the number of spaces in these cities, and introduce new spaces in other towns and local centres.

“A number of areas are under consideration but no decisions have been made about where these spaces will be introduced. We haven’t ruled anywhere in or out.

“The places named in the report were given as examples of where we could introduce pay and display machines, but that doesn’t mean we will introduce them in those places, or won’t in others.

“The list reflects places where we get a lot of complaints about non-compliance with parking regulations, and are therefore considered places where metered or pay and display parking may work well.

“Applying charges to on-street parking can help to ensure turnover of spaces where there is demand, making it easier for people to visit local businesses.

“There is a requirement to consult on all new traffic regulations, so people will have an opportunity to give their views before they are introduced.”