Traders fear car charge shake-up

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Business leaders in Garstang have voiced worries about the possible scrapping of the town’s ‘free for two hours’ parking disc system.

Under the scheme car owners in Wyre can buy a cardboard ‘clock’ parking discs for £25. The discs can be used on all Wyre Council car parks, including those in Windsor Road and High Street, Garstang.

But a review of the scheme has prompted alarm among Garstang’s businesses.

Traders have long felt the introduction of parking fees have hit trade. The introduction of the parking permit for Wyre residents introduced 11 years ago was seen as compromise aimed at placating opposition to parking fees.

A probe into what Wyre Council calls “different options” is to begin this month. Among those options, according to a council report are scrapping the scheme but cutting the cost to park or keeping scheme but increasing charges.

Garstang Chamber of Trade spokesman Damian Carr said: “The removal of the permit scheme would be retrograde and very detrimental to the town as a whole, also to put up parking charges in the current economic climate would be damaging to the town centre.

“Report after report on the decline in town centres say parking charges are a major factor and influence as to why people travel to out of town centres where parking is free.

“Higher charges will just encourage more people to do this, and sadly some businesses who may be ‘on the edge’ currently may not be able to survive any further drop in footfall.”

A Wyre Council spokeswoman confirmed a task group will look into the future of the parking permit scheme and a report will be ready by November.