'Introducing car park fees in Pendle would ruin Colne'

Cars parked
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Introducing car park charges in Pendle would ruin Colne town centre's shopping scene which has been carefully nurtured through hard work, councillors have said.

Pendle Council is reviewing arrangements for its off-street car parks which are currently free of charge but can require drivers to display parking discs in windscreens.

Councillors at the latest Colne area committee discussed a report on drawing-up a new overarching Pendle parking policy followed by five area-specific strategies for Nelson, Brierfield, Barnoldswick, Earby and Colne. Councillors were also asked to join a working group to review car parking and each area.

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A council report stated: "The main outcome from previous surveys and reports is that one size does not fit all. Each area has its own car parking requirements."

It outlined topics including short stay, pay-and-display, short stay discs and enforcement, residents-only schemes, business permits, car park maintenance and EV charging points for electric cars.

Regarding Colne, it stated there are 13 public car parks. Three have short stay disc parking. Three sites of these are currently out of action. Parliament Street parking is not being enforced due to works at the market. A parking order is to be completed before enforcement can start on Colne Lane, which will be partly short and long stay.

Colne's largest car park is Dockray Street with 90 bays. This is under-used and could be looked at for long stay or also some business permit spaces. Hawley Street car park has been declared surplus. Pay-and-display parking has never approved, despite reports over the years.

David Cockburn Price
David Cockburn Price of Pendle Council -Credit:Pendle Council

Conservative Coun David Cockburn-Price, chairman of the Colne committee, said: "It's a very interesting report with some contentious comments. We all know Pendle Council would like to charge everybody everywhere. But we need to look at a overall policy while also looking at individual towns."

Fellow Conservative Coun Kieran McGladdery said: "Any funding gained from car parks in a local area would not be ring-fenced for that area. I don't want parking charges in Colne. However, if revenue was generated from one car park then it should be spent on the upkeep of that site. We have already invested in some of our car parks and painted arches (entrances) for example."

He added: "Is this charging idea being put forward because they know people visit Colne and use car parks? In Nelson, drivers just park on double yellow lines. I think this report is atrocious."

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Conservative Coun Neil Butterworth said: "I'm against parking charges, People will just park on side streets instead and cause chaos. There will be arguments. And people will go elsewhere to Burnley or Yorkshire. We've worked hard for years to build-up Colne. We don't want charges for parking. People who visit Pendle comment positively that we have free parking with various systems "

Ash Sutcliffe of Pendle Council
Ash Sutcliffe of Pendle Council -Credit:Pendle Council

Conservative Ash Sutcliffe said: "It's distasteful to single-out Colne. The money received from fees would not benefit Colne."

He also compared existing and suggested costs for residents parking permits. The report said the current price for permits in Cuba Street, Nelson, was £55 including VAT but a new suggested price was £300. However, ouncillors on the Nelson area committee had agreed a proposed new permit cost of £30, according to the report.

Coun Sutcliffe added: "The Nelson committee suggested £30, which is ten per cent - a fraction - of the recommended fee. It stinks. We have always been fair and we have paid our way. We also need to consider taxi spaces, some of which are wasted."

David Cockburn-Price added: "Fees have been introduced at the railway station car park and nobody goes there now. It's empty."

Sarah Cockburn Price of Pendle Council
Sarah Cockburn Price of Pendle Council -Credit:Pendle Council

Coun Sarah Cockburn Price, also a Conservative, said: "I also have problems with this report. It mentions money from parking enforcement but we do not know how much is raised? There does not appear to be enforcement. It mentions the benefits of parking fees, but not the disbenefits.

"Businesses would fail if parking charges were introduced. The whole area would become dystopian. There is a reason why Sainsbury's does not charge for parking. People would go elsewhere. If we charge, we'd end up with residents filling our meetings with requests for parking permits and empty town centres."

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