Puzzle of car parks zero price increase

GARSTANG’S two public car parks have been spared increases in parking charges – to the delight of motorists.

But Wyre borough bosses have refused to rule out rises later this year – and hinted that changes could be on the way in the running of the Windsor Road car park.

The delay in imposing increased fees in Garstang is thought to be because Booths has objected to suggested increases.

And, the store may have effectively vetoed any such move under its original deal with Wyre Council, which gave the go-ahead for the new store.

Car parking charges throughout the borough have seen rises of 10p an hour, 20p for two hours and 40p for between four and six hours since the start of the year – with the exception of Garstang’s two car parks.

Details of the new charges have been advertised on official Wyre Council notices on borough car parks.

But the notice also lists a ‘zero increase’ for Windsor Road and the High Street car parks in Garstang.

About two years ago, Booths voiced concern about a previous rise at the Windsor Road car park, which is jointly-owned by the council and Booths. Spokesmen for Booths and the council refused to be drawn into detail this week when The Courier asked about the reasons for the lack of an increase.

A council spokesman initially said there had been no increase “following consultation with Booths.”

When pressed, she said: “As the car park is jointly owned by Wyre Borough Council and Booths, both parties have to reach agreement before any increase in charges can be introduced.

“Discussions about this and the future management of the car park are on-going.”

Pressed again she said: “We reserve the right to increase parking charges in the future.”

A Booths spokesman said: “As we are still in discussion with Wyre we are unable to offer any comment at the moment.”

Garstang Chamber of Trade spokesman Damian Carr was unavailable for comment.

A report to the council says the use of the council’s car parks fell by 10 per cent during 2010, the fall being due to ‘the current economic climate increasing the price sensitivity of parking fees and the increased use of residents’ permits brought about by the drop in renewal fees and the removal of ‘R’ bays.