Small businesses in Leyland are being asked to vote on parking proposals in the town centre.
In the latest development in the ongoing debate over free parking around Hough Lane, the council is asking traders to decide where to allocate the spaces.
A pilot project is currently underway on Ecroyd Street car park – behind Leyland Indoor Market – to trial 26 one-hour free spaces.
Previously, the car park on Sumner Street has been allocated as free, but market traders claimed the increase in charges on other car parks had resulted in them losing custom.
April's increase in pay-and-display parking fees was from 20p for the first hour to 50p for two hours.
As a result of stall holders petitioning the council over their declining trade, cabinet member for streetscene, Coun Jim Hothersall, agreed to provide free parking at Ecroyd Street and monitor reaction on a trial basis.
However, a third option has now been tabled to spread 30 free spaces across three town centre pay-and- display car parks.
Businesses in Hough Lane have now been given voting forms by regeneration bosses at South Ribble, asking how council controlled parking in Leyland could be better organised.
The three main options are:
Free parking only on Sumner Street
Moving all free parking spaces to the market car park
Spread free parking evenly across shoppers' car parks
Shop owners have also been asked if they would prefer more free parking but for only 30 minutes, or less free parking up to an hour.
Mike Fadden, who runs Leyland Electra Centre, has long argued for free spaces at the end of Hough Lane where it meets Churchill Way.
He said: "I have voted for the spread of parking across all car parks.
"Every meeting we have between town centre businesses, parking is always argued about.
"It looks like the council is listening at last, but still not giving anything away from a financial point of view.
"I think it will be a really close vote and it could end up being the shops versus the market traders."
Coun Hothersall said the action taken was as a result of declining market footfall, not the result of petitioning.
He said rather than switching the free parking, the council temporarily introduced additional free spaces on Ecroyd Street while carrying out the consultation exercise with businesses and monitoring the effect of the additional free spaces on the market.
He said a decision will be made on the longer term parking arrangements once the consultation period has ended .
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Weather for Leyland
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 13 C to 22 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
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