Council parking prices in Preston are to remain frozen next year despite a fall in income.
Town Hall bosses have decided to maintain charges on the iconic Bus Station, Market Hall, Avenham and Hill Street car parks in an attempt to attract more visitors.
Discounts will also be available in the hope a fall in use can be reversed.
A report to the city’s cabinet has revealed Avenham’s multi-storey in Glover Street has been worst-hit by the slump. But the Bus Station, Market Hall and Hill Street (at the rear of the Black Bull pub) have also seen a drop in takings towards the end of 2013.
Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment, said: “The council conducted an independent review of all its parking facilities last year and decided to maintain our parking charges.
“Next year we intend to keep prices at the same level to keep them affordable including offering discounted contract rates to help city centre workers.
“Nationally, use of car parking facilities is down as more people choose to do their shopping online.
“So as a council we are doing what we can to try and encourage people into the city centre with an arts and culture programme and a series of events supported by affordable car parking.
“When people use council car parks, the money is put back into essential public services and by keeping rates largely the same for the past two years we expect to see more people using our facilities, including our new car park at Trinity Square.”
The report showed the 560-space Avenham car park had suffered from the closure of office accommodation in nearby Cross Street.
Unofficial car parks had also opened in the neighbourhood, although action was being taken by the council to shut those down.
Income from the Bus Station (1,169 spaces) mysteriously dropped by 25 per cent in September, the Market Hall (560 spaces) was losing about 10 per cent and Hill Street (70 spaces), still the council’s best-performing car park, was down 7.5 per cent in September.
Income for each car space varied enormously from £552 per quarter in Hill Street, £187 in the Market, £90 in Avenham and £68 at the Bus Station.