Car parking fees a risk to Ormskirk trade say OWL members
VISITOR numbers in Ormskirk town centre remain well down on preCovid levels and to re-introduce the full pre-Covid car parking charges next month risks suffocating the recent revival in trade and threatens town centre businesses say council Independents, Our West Lancashire.
They are now calling on the council to amend their plans.
The six-strong group of councillors, five of whom represent Ormskirk, wrote to the borough council leader and chief officer in July asking that short stay parking for shoppers and visitors to the town remain free until the end of the year.
OWL chairman Cllr Adrian Owens said: “Parking charges are now required for all-day and long-stay parking for the reasons the council describe; namely to ensure there are enough parking spaces for shoppers and visitors.
“However, the town’s retailers are only just getting back on their feet. Free car parking has helped to achieve that blossoming recovery. Indeed, several town traders have told us how their customers have been delighted with the free parking.
“The council’s own figures show that visitor numbers in Ormskirk are recovering faster than other towns that charge for car parking but they are still down more than 8% on the same month last year.
“To stifle that local recovery before it really gets going makes no sense and we are calling on the council for a partial rethink.
“People shopping for two hours in the other towns in the borough can do so for free. Ormskirk should not be treated differently.
“Go ahead with parking charges for all-day and long-stay parking - for one or two-hour stays keep parking free of charge until at least the end of this year.”