£200K car park blunder

Devonshire Road car park, pictured in June 2015
Devonshire Road car park, pictured in June 2015
Have your say

Town hall chiefs have admitted they got it wrong by spending nearly £200,000 on a staff car park which hardly anyone uses.

The Devonshire Road car park has only been used by a handful of drivers each day since it was opened last year by Blackpool Council for its town centre staff.

Coun Christine Wright, cabinet member with responsibility for car parks, told a meeting of the council that the future of the site is now under review.

She said: “It is being looked at because it was not obviously one of our best ideas.”

However she added the costs had been met by the sale of parking permits to staff.

Coun Wright said: “It is at no cost to the rate-payers of Blackpool, The permits that we have sold to staff, that are taken up not necessarily for that car park, have paid for any outlay.”

She was responding to criticism from Coun Maxine Callow who told the meeting: “The staff parking at the old Devonshire Road hospital seems to be costing the council a lot of money, and when you drive past there are around a dozen cars parked there five days a week.

“Is the council going to continue with this car park and has it been good value for the council tax payers of Blackpool?”

The lack of use of the car park was first raised in January.

At the time, the council said it expected it to be used more in the summer when other town centre car parks were set aside for tourists. However, with less demand for spaces in winter, staff were choosing more centrally located car parks instead.

The council spent £190,000 transforming the former hospital site which also costs it £35,000 in annual rent.

There are 273 spaces and a five-year planning permission is in place.

South Shore resident John Garnham, who took these photographs of the under-used car park just last month, said: “It must surely raise the question of why there are so few users.

“But perhaps it is hardly surprising due to its location.

“This issue has already been raised several times at various opportunities, and been continually brushed off by the council with excuses which are now well past their sell-by date.”