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Free parking trial for Chorley
Free parking for the first four hours is to be introduced at the majority of Chorley’s car parks in an attempt to boost town centre trade.
A five-month trial is set to begin at the start of September which will see parking charges waived for the first four hours of any stay for motorists.
It will mean visitors to ‘long-stay’ car parks at Queens Road, Water Street, Friday Street, George Street, Farrington Street and the Gillibrand Walks side of Fleet Street will not be charged for the first four hours of any stay.
A new range of tariffs will be introduced for the premium short-stay car parks at the Flat Iron, Portland Street, West Street and St Mary’s and the Market Street side of Fleet Street.
The changes will see the charge for an hour’s parking reduced from 70p to 50p and a previously unavailable two hour charge of £1 introduced.
Another change will see a 30-minute option for 30p introduced.
All-day parking at the long-stay car parks will remain at £3.50.
Councillor Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “We have made a commitment that we want to take immediate action to improve the local economy.
“We have consulted with the traders and a review of our parking charges was one of the issues they raised.
“The proposed trial mentioned in the report is one of a number of options we are looking at to attract shoppers to the town in terms of parking charge schemes.”
Motorists shopping in Chorley welcomed the scheme.
Jason Whitehead, 47, from Whittle-le-Woods, said: “I think it would encourage me to come here more often if parking were free for four hours.
“That amount of time would also allow people time to look around other shops a bit more.”
Jackie Jones, of Eaves Lane, Chorley, said: “Some of the car parks they’re talking about are a little way from the town centre but I reckon people will use them if they’re free for four hours.”
A report by the director of partnerships, planning and policy outlines the plans for the trial, which will take place from September until the end of January, 2013.
It states that free parking for visitors will commence after 9.30am, tickets will still need to be displayed and that consecutive ticketing will be prohibited.
The report goes on to say “the pricing structure is to encourage Flat Iron users for shorter stays” and to “signpost users from the primary car parks to secondary car parks via an overflow system”.
The Flat Iron accounts for around 50 per cent of car park revenue from 30 per cent of the spaces.
The loss of revenue during the trial is estimated at £42,000 for the five months and if adopted permanently, income would be estimated to drop by £100,000 per year.
A council spokesman said this would be paid for by “efficiency savings elsewhere”.
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