Preston’s on-street parking spaces could be the answer to retailers wishes, a leading businessman has said.
Paul Heathcote, restaurateur who owns the Olive Press eatery on Winckley Square, said on street parking available on side streets across the city centre could be “better managed” to attract more visitors.
He said Lancashire County Council, which operates the parking on side streets, could look to increase the amount of time people can use the spaces.
It follows calls by city centre traders to encourage more shoppers to the high street by reducing parking spaces amid fears work to make Fishergate more pedestrian-friendly could scare people away.
Mr Heathcote said: “I looked out over Winckley Square on Sunday morning and the place was packed and that says to me people want to park there.
“If we were to give people the option of parking for two hours or two-and-a-half hours rather than half-an-hour or an hour, it would be far more attractive.
“I do not think there is a shortage of spaces in the city centre, I just think they are badly managed.”
Last week, a meeting of traders to look at a £3m project to revamp the main Fishergate high street led to calls from traders for more free parking.
Speaking after the meeting, Preston Council deputy leader John Swindells said the authority could not afford to lose the revenue from its city centre car parks.
Tim Ashton, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We do recognise retailers’ concerns, however, we need to charge for on-street parking and limit the amount of time people can park for.
“Otherwise all the spaces will be taken by people working in the city centre, thereby reducing the number of spaces available for shoppers.”