U-turn on Whalley’s street parking charges

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Controversial proposals to introduce on-street parking charges in the village of Whalley are set to be scrapped by Lancashire County Council.

The changes were announced by the authority’s Conservative leader Geoff Driver, but it seems Whalley has been withdrawn as a potential site after huge opposition from concerned local residents and traders.

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. It was proposed 53 pay-and-display machines would be installed in town centres with Whalley, Clitheroe, Colne, Nelson, Longridge, Burnley, Padiham and Great Harwood on the list of possible locations.

The scheme has provoked strong opposition which has led to Pendle being exempt from the charges and now Whalley.

Ribble Valley councillor Terry Hill hailed the decision a “great victory for concerted community action”.

He said: “In the wake of the Lancashire County Council’s recent budget meeting where it became clear that the proposal to consider parking meters included Whalley, myself, Coun. Joyce Holgate and Whalley Chamber of Trade organised a campaign to e-mail county councillor Albert Atkinson.

"We explained the parking charges would be very damaging to visitor numbers in Whalley and therefore to trade.

"I met with Coun. Atkinson and am pleased to report that he unequivocally reported that this initiative, if it eventually is rolled out across the county, will not include Whalley.

"I am extremely grateful to Paul Winckley and John Atherton for their help in this very quick action and to Albert for his sympathetic and constructive response. Indeed, a great victory for concerted community action.”

Responding, Coun. Atkinson said: “The scheme was initially proposed to allow the free flow of traffic in congested areas. You can never say never, but I am quite sure parking meters won’t be installed in Whalley.”