Call for free town centre parking

Coun Tony Williams is calling for free parking in Blackpool town centre in the run up to Christmas

A parking for a pound offer in the run up to Christmas has been branded ‘Scrooge’ like by an opposition councillor.

Blackpool Council has joined forced with Blackpool BID (business improvement district) to offer the £1 deal in selected car parks on three Sundays in December, after 5pm on late-night shopping nights and after 3pm on Saturday December 2 when the town’s Christmas lights are switched on.

But Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, has called for free parking to make up for roadworks which it is feared could deter Christmas shoppers.

He said: “I think this parking deal is offering insult to injury to businesses in the town centre who are facing low customer turnouts due to badly timed road works and other developments in the town over the Christmas period.

“Most of the access routes to the town centre are affected and congestion is unavoidable. Many people I have talked to say they will be doing their shopping somewhere else.

“I would call on the council to offer free parking during the run up to Christmas to try and help businesses instead of this paltry offer which will do little to encourage shoppers to spend lengthy times in traffic jams.

“The council are following Scrooge’s guide to Christmas.”

Coun Mark Smith, the council’s cabinet member for business, says he hopes “by offering a nominal parking charge on key shopping days, local people will choose to shop in Blackpool.”

Residents face disruption due to the closure of parts of Talbot Road and Dickson Road, including the junction with the Promenade, for work to extend the tramway to North Station.

The £1 offer will be available on West Street, East Topping Street, Central and Talbot Road car parks at the following times and dates:

3pm onwards on Saturday 2 December to coincide with the BID’s Christmas lights switch on event at the junction of Victoria Street and Bank Hey Street and to celebrate Small Business Saturday

5pm onwards on Blackpool town centre late shopping nights – December 7, 14 and 21

All day on Sundays – December 3, 10 and 17

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