New bid to solve parking wrangle

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A NEW experimental parking scheme for part of Clitheroe town centre is aimed at balancing demands for parking between residents, visitors and businesses.

The scheme, agreed by Lancashire County Council, addresses calls from residents dating back more than 20 years to be able to park near their homes, replacing the current arrangements which allow only time-limited parking during business hours.

The new scheme will continue to provide two-hour limited-waiting bays for visitors on Church Brow, Church Street and York Street, but some spaces can also be used for longer-term parking by residents with permits.

Loading bays will also be provided for businesses and there will be some disabled parking. One of the existing bus stops will be removed to allow the changes to parking to be accommodated, with bus passengers still able to use the remaining stop.

The new scheme will be introduced using an experimental traffic order which will allow the restrictions to be tested in practice for up to 18 months before a final decision is made on whether to make them permanent.

County Councillor Tim Ashton, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Residents in the centre of Clitheroe have been urging the county council to consider their parking needs alongside those of visitors and businesses for a very long time and this scheme seeks to provide that balance.

“There have been two formal consultations on changes to parking over the years, the first dating back to 1997, and we met face-to-face with residents and traders this summer to discuss this latest scheme.

“The consultations show that opinion has always been split on this issue and for this reason it has been very difficult to reach a compromise, but it is the county council’s role to be fair to everyone and we believe the new scheme improves on the present situation.”

A forum will be established to discuss the way the measures work, with representation from residents and the business community, the Lancaster Foundation (which operates The Grand), St Mary Magdalene’s Church, St Mary’s Hall, Clitheroe Library and local councillors.

A series of surveys and assessments will be carried out before and after the new parking scheme is brought in and the experimental traffic order will allow it to be “tweaked” if necessary to improve the way it works.

The new scheme is estimated to cost £20,000 with administration of residents’ permits to be carried out by Lancashire County Council. It is scheduled to be put in place as soon as practical following the initial exercise to gather data on the way traffic and parking in the town currently operates.