PROPOSALS to change charges on Blackpool Council car parks have been welcomed.
It has been revealed the cost of parking for the day is set to be slashed in a bid to attract more visitors to the town.
Revised tariffs, up for discussion at the full council meeting to be held at the town hall on Wednesday, will see the removal of the blanket three or 12-hour stays available on many of the town’s car parks.
Business leaders have long asked for fairer charges for shoppers in the town centre.
If passed, those needing to stay for a shorter time will be able to pay for just two hours’ parking.
And those wanting to stay that bit longer in the town will have the option of paying for four hours’ parking, rather than a full half-day.
Councillors will be asked to back the bold move of a tariff of just £2.50 for a full 12-hour stay on some car parks, £5 cheaper than a recent trial price of £7.50.
Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “This is an excellent idea – we’ve been moaning about car park tariffs for as long as I can remember.
“This is a move in the right direction – it seems ridiculous but people will shop at towns where parking is cheaper or free. It’s as important as getting the mix of shops right.”
And town centre manager Eileen Ormand said parking was the lifeblood of town centre business.
She added: “This is something the Business Improvement District has discussed with the council many times; car parking to businesses is crucial.
“We welcome the move to make it more economical for people to park – we can only benefit from this.”
Coun Fred Jackson, Blackpool council’s deputy leader, added: “All car parking charges are being reviewed at the moment and we’re going to try to introduce a fairer policy of charging across the town. This is the first phase of that process.”
He added: “It’s a case of looking at car parks that are under-used and encouraging people to use them and getting a balance across the town.”
The council report states: “The experience gained from the recent trial period on Seed Street and other town centre car parks has proved reduced rate parking can be viable at selected locations.”
A trial scheme has already been approved to allow a limited number of vehicles to park on Lower Walk, west of the tramway, following requests from anglers.
And councillors are also looking at a new permit parking scheme for Whitegate Drive, where problems have been experienced by residents, visitors and business owners alike.