Car park branded a ‘white elephant’

The car park at Jubilee Gardens, Cleveleys. Below, Coun Penny Martin

The car park at Jubilee Gardens, Cleveleys. Below, Coun Penny Martin

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Answers have been demanded on how a car park which cost the taxpayer more than £400,000 is only making around £5,000 each year for the public purse.

The car park at Jubilee Gardens, Cleveleys, has been labelled a ‘white elephant’, and residents and opposition councillors have asked for leaders to account for its perceived “failure”.

Cllr. Penny Martin is leading a campaign to ensure that Thornton Sports Centre on Victoria Road East remains open, following moves to sell the land for re-development. PIC BY ROB LOCK'28-4-2012

Cllr. Penny Martin is leading a campaign to ensure that Thornton Sports Centre on Victoria Road East remains open, following moves to sell the land for re-development. PIC BY ROB LOCK'28-4-2012

Resident Rob Fail submitted a public question to Wyre Council asking “on how many occasions has the ‘multi purpose’ area been used for non-parking purposes since it opened?”

He also asked for originally predicted and actual monetary cost of building the car park, originally predicted and actual revenue, and originally predicted and currently predicted payback periods.

Coun Penny Martin, opposition leader for the Labour group on Wyre Council, said: “£402,645 was spent on this car park.

“That is an eye-watering amount of hard earned tax payers money.

“We were told expected income was £30,000 per annum, but it managed £5,000.

“We were told it would bring visitors and shoppers to Cleveleys. I’m yet to see a shopper pushing their trolley more than half a mile there.”

But Coun Roger Berry, portfolio holder for neighbourhood services, defended the car park but admitted it was “a pity” it hadn’t been used for community events.

He said: “The site was previously an eyesore. It was in a ruinous state.

“It was seen as providing a community asset to those using the prom.

“It’s a pity community events haven’t taken place.

“I can only hope people do use it.”

His colleague Coun David Walmsley, ward councillor for Jubilee, said work was now underway to have coaches use the car park, predicting such tourism could bring in around £500,000 for the town annually.