Calls to rethink free parking withdrawal

The Castle Gardens pub in Carleton.
The Castle Gardens pub in Carleton.
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TRADERS are warning plans to introduce charges at a pub car park will kill the village.

Residents and shop owners in Carleton are pleading with the pub company to change their minds and have organised a public meeting to highlight the issue.

In the past spaces at the Castle Gardens on Poulton Road in Carleton – and the Newton Arms on Staining Road in Normoss – have previously been leased by Wyre Council and made available free to shoppers.

However, residents near to the Castle Gardens say that after the agreement had been abused by some people parking their cars overnight or leaving them there for several days, the pubs owners Mitchells and Butlers have warned they are considering introducing a pay and display.

Pub customers would get their fees back by showing their tickets in the pub but other users would have to pay.

The council has been in negotiations with the pub company but residents say these have broken down.

The public meeting is scheduled for 1.30pm this Saturday at the Memorial Hall on Moorfield Avenue, Carleton.

Trader Sarah Molloy, who runs Carleton News, said: “Negotiations have apparently broken down and we are all left in limbo. If pay and display is brought in it would kill passing trade as people would not stop.

“People are desperate. We have all been working hard in this recession. We support the local community.

“I urge everyone to go to the public meeting and make their feelings known.”

Wyre Council confirmed it has not renewed the parking arrangements with Mitchells and Butlers brewery, which manages both premises, after it failed to reach agreeable terms.

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Council, said: “Mitchells and Butlers proposed a huge increase in rent combined in one instance with a reduced number of spaces, which obviously did not represent value for money for Wyre residents.

“We expressed our dissatisfaction with the deal however no alternative options have been put forward, so we’ve been forced not to renew the arrangements.

“It would not be prudent to commit taxpayers’ money to a scheme that is not financially viable, particularly when it could be spent elsewhere to greater benefit.

“I also understand a pay and display car park may be introduced at the Castle Gardens. If this were to happen and we continue financing spaces that can be used by anyone, Wyre residents could end up effectively subsidising the brewery.”

Coun James Hargreaves, of Carleton ward, added: “It will cause all sorts of parking problems throughout the village because there are only three parking spaces on the road near the shops.”

A spokesman for Mitchells and Butlers said: “It’s important to us we discuss the car parking for both businesses with all of the parties concerned before we reach a decision.

“The car parks are privately owned by us and we obviously need to be able to provide free parking for our guests.

“However, we do hear the concerns of business owners in the local community who are worried about losing trade due to the lack of public parking.

“We will be talking to local residents, local businesses and the council over the coming weeks to find the best solution.

“No final decisions have been taken.”

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