Devonshire Road car park cash write-off woe

Photo Neil Cross'The practically empty Devonshire Road Car Park that the Council spent �190.000 developing
Photo Neil Cross'The practically empty Devonshire Road Car Park that the Council spent �190.000 developing
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Blackpool’s council-owned car parks look set to make more money this year – but town hall chiefs may have to write off thousands of pounds in relation to the controversial Devonshire Road Car Park.

The lease on the site is to be relinquished after it failed to attract enough drivers.

The council spent £180,000 resurfacing the car park for use by its staff being relocated to its new town centre offices in Bickerstaffe House.

But workers opted to use the nearer Talbot Road multi-storey car park instead.

Alan Cavill, assistant chief executive at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the tourism, resources and economy scrutiny committee: “Location is everything and that is a lesson we have learned from Devonshire Road.

“We knew we would have parking challenges when we brought 1,000 people into Bickerstaffe House.

“As it happens, staff would rather pay £40 a month to park in the Talbot multi-storey than £15 a month to park in Devonshire Road.”

The cost of the car park has been paid for out of the staff permit scheme but there could be a price for relinquishing the five year lease.

Mr Cavill added: “The maximum risk is £35,000 but we will negotiate with the NHS and we don’t anticipate paying anything.”

However he added there was positive news with regard to parking revenue in general in the town.

The council is forecasting the revenue shortfall will be £460,000 this year, compared to £744,000 last year and £966,000 in 2013/14.

The council’s 2015/16 budget sets a target for car parking income of £6.1m and expenditure at £2.5m, giving a net contribution of £3.6m.

The forecast year-end position for 2015/16 is a net contribution of £3.2m – a shortfall of £460k.

This is despite the fact 1,791 parking bays have been lost in the town in recent years due to regeneration schemes and the sale of the Houndshill Car Park.

Coun Christine Wright, cabinet member with responsibility for parking, said: “The target is unrealistic and probably has been for nine years since it was set.

“Since the target was set we have lost nearly 2,000 spaces.

“The parking service really does contribute to the coffers of the council.”

The meeting also heard it is proposed to create four spaces for motorhomes in Lytham Road Car Park.