West Lancashire Borough Council, which introduced free parking in March, has discovered some motorists have enjoyed free parking!
The move to make parking free across the town was taken by the Labour administration in response to Covid-19 and the resulting lockdown.
But now, with Ormskirk town centre car parks back at full capacity, charges will be reintroduced to support town centre business, the market and traders, encouraging a steady flow of customers throughout the day. The charges reintroduced remain at just £1 for 3 hours.
From Planning Portfolio Holder Cllr Dave Evans “Following ongoing review of the effect of free parking on Ormskirk town centre, it is clear charges must be reintroduced to encourage more shopping custom and eliminate those who have been using the car parks for all day free parking.
“It has been found that some residents have parked up for the day getting the train to Liverpool, which is no benefit to Ormskirk or West Lancashire whatsoever.
“Even a small minority of market traders were parking up for the day depriving their fellow traders and even themselves of much needed custom as residents return to shopping. Town centre business and many market traders have raised these concerns with me calling for the reintroduction of charges to draw more customers in.
“With the return of Edge Hill University students in the coming weeks, this is certainly the correct decision to ensure that the town centre car parks are not abused by all day parkers and we can support our local businesses, economy and jobs”.
It was further agreed that all pay machine key pads would be wiped down hourly as a minimum by council staff, with drivers also advised to sanitise both before and after use.
With regard the pay & display car parking, since the decision was taken to suspend parking charges in March, the loss of income to the Council from parking charges has been approximately £300,000, while the cost of the contracts with external suppliers for managing the car parks have still had to be paid (£27,000 since parking charges were suspended), and a further month’s income will be lost in September (together with a further month’s costs being incurred with external suppliers).
You really couldn’t make it up! The “free parking policy nerds” in Derby Street Towers have lost the plot! Free parking meant free parking and people parked for free. But the nerds didn’t really mean it, or didn’t know what they meant! No surprise there then?