INVESTORS in a failed Lancashire run parking scheme are looking to get their money back after the financial regulator agreed to a £25million compensation deal.

Around 4,500 former investors, many of them using life savings, were involved in the controversial Park First scheme, which saw parking spaces near airports sold off at £20,000 a time, with investors promised returns of between eight and 12 per cent.

However they ended up losing thousands of pounds each when the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ruled in 2016 that the scheme was illegal and Padiham-base Four Park First companies collapsed into administration three years later, having raised £230 million.

Former investor Donald Walker, who along with several others has been trying to get his money back ever since, said: "The £25million sounds like a lot but then there's a lot of that that's going to a lot of other people.

"I've got debts and bills to pay and they've had the money in the bank for a couple of years now.

"I invested £45,000 and I didn't get a penny out of it, I've been investing all my life and this is the first time this has happened."

He added: "There's a lot of other people who rely on that money they invested.

"All they've got to do is pay the money out."

The FCA has now secured a conditional agreement from chief executive Toby Walker which should see a further £25 million paid compensation to investors, on top of £33 million already secured out of the proceeds of the sale of the car park at Luton airport.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Stewart said: "The agreement, if approved, represents a better outcome in the proceedings for investors than could have achieved through continued legal action, given the financial position of the parties.

"It also gives investors the final say on the merits of the conditional agreement."

The full details of the conditional agreement will be voted on by the former investors.

Joint administrator of the companies Emma Thompson said: "Investors and creditors will have the ability to choose whether the CVA proposals are acceptable and, if they are, whether to continue to be invested in the car parking business or to exit their car parking investment.

"I’m acutely aware of investors and creditors frustrations as to the time it has taken to be able to move forward, however, the enhanced returns that they stand to receive mean it was worthwhile."

If the arrangements are approved, the FCA’s proceedings against the defendants will continue with a trial is fixed for hearing in February 2022.

A spokesperson for the firm said: "Group First on behalf of Park First is pleased to confirm that it has reached a conditional settlement with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in full and final settlement of claims that the FCA has brought relating to the operation of car park sites.

"Park First has worked closely with both the FCA and the Administrators of four Park First car parking businesses to put together a package of proposals for the benefit of investors in the car parks.

"These proposals will ensure the contribution of substantial additional funds into the car park businesses through Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs).

"The CVAs will also ensure that the car parking businesses are able to continue to operate in a manner that is beneficial for the investors in those schemes.

"The substantial additional contribution of funds and restructuring of the car parking schemes is dependent on the creditors approving the CVA proposals which will be issued to them shortly. Park First will be contributing a total of £58million to investors in the car parking schemes if the CVA proposals are successful.

"Park First is committed and focused on the successful operation of the car parks for the benefit of the investors."