CHORLEY Council has pledged to try and freeze car parking charges for next year.
The local authority, which is also trying to save £1.4m from its 2012/2013 budget, has also vowed to do everything it can to freeze its share of next year’s council tax for the fourth time in the last six years.
The idea of increasing car parking charges was raised at a meeting of Chorley Council’s Executive Cabinet in August but leader Coun Peter Goldsworthy said that was not their plan - although he said free parking was not a realistic option either.
He said: “There are no plans to raise car parking charges.
“It’s our intention to keep them at the level they are this year.
“You have got to be sensible. Parking charges in Chorley are extremely good value.
“You can park on the Flat Iron and shop at Booths and get the first hour’s parking free.”
Coun Goldsworthy said if free parking was introduced in Chorley it would equate to a 13 per cent hike in council tax.
“If I want to raise £60,000 I have to put up council tax by one per cent,” he said.
“Would the people of Chorley want a 13 per cent increase in their council tax in exchange for free parking? It’s not going to happen.”
Three hours parking in Chorley now cost £1, although new meters have been installed on the Flat Iron to prevent tickets being transferred.
The Conservative leader said he was determined not to increase its share of next year’s council tax to leave residents with more disposable income.
“It’s our ambition to freeze it at this stage,” he said.
“We are getting 15 per cent less money than last year (in Government funding) so we have some tough decisions to make.
“We have £1.4m of savings to make but our aspiration is that we want to keep council tax down.”
Chorley Council chief executive Gary Hall said: “We have a track record of delivering efficiencies.
“We are already making plans and want to protect frontline services.”
Malcolm Allan, chairman of Chorley Traders Alliance, said: “I’m encouraged that the council have said that they have no plan to increase parking charges in 2012/13.
“Any increase in parking would impact what people would have to spend so it could drive people away from Chorley to other towns.
“I acknowledge that Chorley provides some of the cheapest car parking in central Lancashire. It’s important that no new charges are introduced for things like Sunday parking.”