Parking joy for drivers

8/4/2010. Bill Johnson. New charges at Seed Street car park, Blackpool.
8/4/2010. Bill Johnson. New charges at Seed Street car park, Blackpool.
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SHOCK increases to parking charges will become a thing of the past as the Government moves to support motorists.

Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary and Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, have scrapped rules brought in by the previous Labour government which forced councils to impose higher parking charges and limit car spaces in new housing developments.

A furious row broke out in March last year when drivers using Banks Street, Gynn Square and Seed Street car parks in Blackpool learned they would have to pay £7.50 for a 12 hour stay instead of £2.20.

The charges were recently slashed by 80 per cent over the winter months.

But Mr Pickles has taken away the Labour imposed rules, giving council’s the freedom to raise charges if they need to, and not when they are forced to by Government legislation.

Councils have always had the power to raise car parking charges in their wards, but the former government had put in place measures which forced rises on motorists.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “We aim to have competitively priced parking provision that meets the needs of residents and visitors and we are currently reviewing our car parking strategy and charges as we aim to provide the most cost effective service for Blackpool.”

A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “Following Mr Pickles’ announcement we have no plans to increase car parking charges this April.

“These charges are needed to maintain the car parks and we believe it’s right that councils can set their own charges.”

Wyre Council is proposing to review its parking system now the previous legislation has been scrapped.