A freeze in the cost of car parking in Blackpool has been welcomed in the resort.
Traders say the “common sense” decision will be good for business at a time Blackpool is trying to compete with bigger cities, where parking is typically more expensive, to attract day-trippers.
The council’s decision will see the cost of using council car parks and parking meters will remain the same from April 1.
The last time the charges were revised was 2017 when increases of up to 65 per cent were introduced.
There will also be opportunity to reduce fees for special reasons, such as to encourage shoppers into the town centre in the run-up to Christmas.
Claire Smith, president of Stay Blackpool, said: “We have had a little bit of common sense in December with free parking in the car parks to help the retailers in the town centre, so this is more common sense coming into the car parking situation.
“I don’t think anybody expected the car parking prices to come down especially when the councils are struggling. What we would like to see and what’s realistic in the real world are two very different things.
“In the real world I don’t think we could ever expect them to come down, but I’m happy that they are not going up.”
The decision not to impose any further rises has also been welcomed by the town centre’s main trade body.
Michael Williams, chairman of the Blackpool Improvement District (BID) said: “Car parking charges are also a very emotive issue but we recognise that they are required to ensure services can be maintained across the resort.
“It is encouraging that the council are looking to freeze their parking charges when so many other councils are increasing their parking charges.
“The discounted car parking offer that Blackpool BID has supported for the past two years throughout December certainly seemed to increase footfall in the town centre and we will certainly welcome this initiative again this year.”
A report setting out the decision to freeze charges says the move balances the need to generate revenue to support its budget, with market conditions.
It adds: “Granting the power to vary fees to the director allows the flexibility to adapt to changes in market conditions, to negotiate discounts to retain customers or launch promotions to attract new customers.”
It means people using the resort’s main town centre car parks, including the Talbot Road multi-storey, Central, Bonny Street, East Topping Street , Chapel Street, Queen Street and West Street will continue to pay £3 for up to two hours parking, rising incrementally to £20 for 96 hours.
On-street parking in the town centre remains at 60p for up to 20 minutes, rising to £2.50 for 90 minutes.
Hotelier Charlie Docherty, chairman of the Central Blackpool Business Forum, welcomed the freeze in car parking prices - but said it would not solve existing traffic problems faced by residents.
He said: “To be perfectly honest, you can never please everybody. Some already think that the charges are far too high, others think they are not high enough.
“There’s not enough car parking on our streets, and with the roads being as bad as they are, many people are saying we should not pay at all.
“I have been out and about and spoken to 200 people and the main feedback I have been getting is that car parking causes problems for both hoteliers and guests.
“Residents on Hornby Road, Regent Road and other streets are sick to the back teeth of holidaymakers parking outside their houses. For residents, it’s an issue. People are parking outside their houses because they’re not willing to pay for the long stay.
“No doubt about it, its welcome that charges are not going up, but it won’t solve the congestion. People are just going to carry on as they are. It has not alleviated the problem, but it won’t make it any worse.”
Helen Mansell, Stay Blackpool vice president and owner of Bamford House on York Street, also welcomed the price freeze.
She said: “Obviously anything that helps to get more people into the town to come in the shops is welcome, and freezing the parking charges is a good idea. When you have visitors staying for the weekend lots of hotels don’t have their own parking, so it’s welcome for them as well.
“We’ve also got some private car parks around and their charges are quite favourable, so it’s not so bad. It’s just that everybody who comes into Blackpool expects to park for free.
“If you go into any town centre and park in the multistorey you will have to pay. I don’t think the car parks around here are excessive.”