Shoppers and visitors to Clitheroe town centre face having to pay to park on the street in what could be a huge blow to local shops and businesses.
The proposals, which will be discussed by Lancashire County Council on Monday, could see the end of some of the free parking currently enjoyed in Clitheroe.
Ribble Valley Borough Councillor and Clitheroe Town Councillor Allan Knox slammed the move and said he is “deeply concerned” about the proposals.
“High streets throughout the country, including in Clitheroe, are suffering at the moment and this will pile more pressure on them.
“Whilst I understand that Lancashire County Council is strapped for cash, it’s a Tory run county council and the reason it is strapped for cash is because of their own government.
“I will be campaigning against these proposals.”
Local businessman Kevin Horkin, meanwhile, described the proposals as scandalous: “I think it’s an absolute scandal. Time and time again Lancashire County Council treats the Ribble Valley and its residents as a permanent cash cow. This will drive people away.”
Shoppers and visitors to the town can currently enjoy up to an hour of free parking on the majority of the town centre’s streets and up to two hours of free parking on York Street. Until the meeting on Monday it remains unclear how the current situation will be affected.
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “There is currently a limited amount of on-street parking where charging applies in the county.
“The budget proposal to be discussed by cabinet is to expand the number of spaces and introduce new spaces in other towns and local centres.
“A number of areas are under consideration but no decisions have been made about where these spaces would be introduced.
“Applying charges to on-street parking can help to ensure turnover of spaces where there is demand, making it easier for people to visit local businesses.
“There is a requirement to consult on all new traffic regulations, so people would have an opportunity to give their views before they are introduced.”
The county council has also indicated it would look to introduce traffic regulations on residential streets to mitigate for the likely “migration” of cars.
Ribble Valley Borough Councillor and Lancashire County Councillor Ian Brown stressed that these proposals are just suggestions from officers and consultations will take place before any decisions are made.
"Sometimes parking charges help ensure turnover of spaces and therefore help local businesses," said Coun. Brown. "Should anybody have any comments or suggestions I am happy to receive them."