A campaigner battling to improve a car parking “nightmare” in St Annes today welcomed calls by a Government minister for local authorities to do more to combat the issue.
Arnold Sumner, who is chairman the town’s Chamber of Trade, has spoken out after comments made by Secretary of State for Communities, Eric Pickles.
Mr Pickles has issued planning guidance to councils across the country, and says “anti-car” authorities are stopping jobs, tourism and business from thriving.
He said that “draconian” parking policies and pointless “street clutter” have led to motorists abandoning town centres.
Town halls must also reduce parking charges that “undermine the vitality of town centres,” Mr Pickles said.
Mr Sumner is currently circulating a petition around St Annes with he aim of improving facilities there and encouraging people back to the town centre.
He said: “I’ve been writing to Eric Pickles for years.
“I wrote to him in 2010 telling him about the problems we were having and how it affected businesses.
“He was very sympathetic and he’s on our side.”
The Chamber of Trade’s petition, which has already gained hundreds of signatures, urges three actions to be undertaken by Fylde Council.
Firstly it wants to remove a series of double yellow lines across the town, secondly to restrict the existing central car parks to two hours and be either more affordable or free and finally to extend on-road parking to two hours.
Close to 200 of businesses have signed up so far, with Mr Sumner claiming “99 per cent” of the town’s residents are in favour of the idea.
He said: “The petition is going very well among residents and visitors to St Annes and it’s going in many of the shops too.
“Basically this is about giving people the chance to shop because we want on street car parking extended from one hour to two.
A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “Fylde Council and Lancashire County Council are jointly appointing a study of car parking in St Annes and Lytham.
“The study will examine all the issues and the findings will be presented to councillors for a decision.
“We will consider their requests thoroughly and seriously, and make our decision in due course.”