New parking restrictions have been agreed for a Ribble Valley village, after traders said limited spaces were impacting on the economy of the area.
Lancashire County Council has approved a new parking order for Whalley village centre, after concerns were raised over parking problems.
The plans were met with objections following a consultation, but have been approved by County Coun. John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport.
A full re-think of parking regulations in the village was requested by the Chamber of Trade and the parish council, because the available visitor and shopping parking was being “occupied by local workers”.
They said the limited availability of parking for shoppers was “impacting on trade”, and said: “In the long term it is concerned that this will reflect on the viability of the village.”
A report to County Coun. Fillis said a meeting was held last summer with representatives from the area to discuss the parking problems in Whalley, and the principles of the new scheme were agreed.
It said: “These included a request to maximise the limited parking provision on King Street, Whalley, but at the same time redistribute road space so that traffic would be able to pass through the area without excessive delays.
“The main principal of the proposal was to prevent all day parking from occupying prime parking bays, preserving the bays for visitors and shoppers.
“It was agreed that the parking period should be two hours with no return in two hours and to operate from Monday through to Saturday between 8am and 6pm.”
It said the meeting also highlighted plans to narrow the footways in part of King Street to allow parking on both sides of the road, and to widen the footways on another part of King Street.
A further meeting was held at the beginning of this year to discuss a first draft of the proposals with community representatives, and a number of changes were identified.
A third plan was drawn up and presented to a meeting, and then went to formal consultation.
The formal consultation led to 11 replies from nine people living at eight different addresses.
One resident of Queen Street said the noise of deliveries to two local clubs was causing a disturbance and blocking the road.
A response said the order would provide a loading bay on Accrington Road, removing the need for dray vehicles to use Queen Street for deliveries.
A further objection was received, which raised 10 different concerns.
It included fears reduced parking on the main street would increase pressure on residential roads, and also said the limited waiting time should not be limited to 8am to 6pm, as the problem existed all the time.
A response to the first point said: “Parking has only been removed where it is considered absolutely necessary to maintain traffic flow.”
And the following response said: “The periods of limited waiting have been designed to ensure that they provide daytime parking places for shoppers whilst balancing the need for unlimited evening parking for residents and visitors.”
A resident from the southern end of King Street objected to the scheme, fearing they would be left with nowhere to park, and asked for a residents only parking scheme to be considered.
A response said: “It is not proposed to introduce any new residents only parking orders at this time.
“Whilst the existing order introduces some limited waiting parking bay restrictions outside the property, this has been balanced with as much residential parking as possible.
“Residents will not be prevented from parking on a Sunday and the proposal allows them to park after 4pm each evening until 10am the next morning.”
A message was received expressing broad support for the proposals as long as the changes would be correctly enforced, and raising concern that they may not be.
A response said: “Whilst it is acknowledged that parking monitoring and enforcement has been an issue in all villages throughout Lancashire the proposal aims to be relatively self enforcing by presenting a practical layout which benefits the centre and its users.
“Discussions have been undertaken with the parish council regarding purchasing Civil Enforcement Officer time to assist in managing the parking should this be deemed necessary.”
Despite the objections, plans have now been agreed and the report said: “Having reviewed all the objections it is still the view of the local representatives that the changes are necessary to maintain the continued vibrancy of the community.”
It said: “Whalley is a small community with a heritage site and a number of specialised businesses which are reliant on customers being able to find a parking place.
“The ongoing residential development will increase the vehicular pressure on King Street and exacerbate the existing traffic congestion.”
The scheme will be funded from the Ribble Valley highways revenue new road signs and road markings budget, at an estimated cost of £2,500.