PARKING charges in Ormskirk will be reintroduced from next month.
West Lancashire Borough Council has taken a decision to bring back fees from Monday, October 5 after they were scrapped in March.
Since lockdown ended and businesses were allowed to reopen, the town centre has gradually become busier with more vehicles using the council-run car parks.
The decision, says the council, has been made partly because of ‘day parkers’ who abuse the free parking scheme to leave their cars and then get the train into Liverpool!
The charges reintroduced remain at just £1 for three hours. All pay machine keypads would be wiped down hourly by council staff, with drivers also advised to sanitise both before and after use.
Cllr Dave Evans, Portfolio Holder for Planning at West Lancs Council, said: “Following an 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.”
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However, Our West Lancashire is against the reintroduction of parking charges and believe it should continue to be free to help local businesses.
OWL Chairman, Cllr Adrian Owens said: “Parking charges are now required for all-day and long-stay parking for the reasons the council describe; namely to ensure there are enough parking spaces for shoppers and visitors.
“However, the town’s retailers are only just getting back on their feet. Free car parking has helped to achieve that blossoming recovery. Indeed, several town traders have told us how their customers have been delighted with the free parking.
“The council’s own figures show that visitor numbers in Ormskirk are recovering faster than other towns that charge for car parking but they are still down more than 8% on the same month last year. To stifle that local recovery before it really gets going makes no sense and we are calling on the council for a partial rethink.
“People shopping for two hours in the other towns in the borough can do so for free. At this time especially, Ormskirk should not be treated differently.
“Go ahead with parking charges for all-day and long-stay parking, for one or two hour stays keep parking free of charge until at least the end of this year.”