Towns in Lancashire which can make a good case against the introduction of on-street pay and display machines will not have them installed, Lancashire County Council has pledged.
Nelson and Colne have already been withdrawn as potential sites, after County Hall consulted with Pendle Council about the effect kerbside charging would have in the two towns.
County Hall outlined plans to extend roadside charges as part of its budget proposals back in December. At the time, more than a dozen locations were suggested as areas to be considered for the machines. But a meeting of the county council’s cabinet has now heard that the list was not intended to indicate that the charges would definitely be introduced.
Thousands of signatures were gathered on petitions in several of the areas listed as potential locations for the machines. A previous meeting of the authority’s cabinet was brought to a halt when Pendle county councillor David Whipp was involved in a stand-off with Conservative council leader Geoff Driver, after he stood with a placard and tried to present one of the petitions opposing parking charges in the district.
“It’s important to stress that the towns and cities that were mentioned were purely examples and that there will be specific consultation on specific streets where such a charge might be enforced,” County Cllr Driver said.
"I’ve spoken in detail to the leader and chief executive of Pendle Council and I’m convinced, at this stage, that there is no requirement for on-street parking in Nelson or Colne - therefore I’m recommending that those towns are removed form consideration."
And cabinet member for highways, Keith Iddon, added that the final list could look very different.
“I will assure you of this, if places don’t want them and the reason is a perfectly good one, then they won’t have them,” he said.
“But a lot of people contacted me to say they’d welcome this type of parking, because they have issues [in their area].
“It’s about keeping traffic flowing and in a position where people can park to visit somewhere - and [ensuring] the whole centre isn’t blocked all day by people who want to leave their cars there,” he added.
But Labour opposition group leader, Azhar Ali, hailed a victory for “people power” and called for a complete rethink.
“The other [areas on the list] should also be excluded from on-street parking charges rather than playing politics with towns and pitting them against each other,” he said.
The original proposal was to increase the number of paid-for roadside bays form 190 to 560, generating an estimated £185,000 extra income every year. The only areas under Lancashire County Council’s control which currently charge for on-street parking are Preston and Lancaster.
The original list of areas to be considered for on-street charging was: