Parking charge at Penwortham pub leaves bitter taste

Photo Neil Cross'The Pay and Display car park at The Fleece pub in Penwortham near Preston
Photo Neil Cross'The Pay and Display car park at The Fleece pub in Penwortham near Preston
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A brewery has defended its decision to install pay and display machines at a popular town pub.

Shops and charities in Liverpool Road, Penwortham are unhappy about the decision to charge £1 for two hours stay on the Fleece Inn car park. They say it will affect businesses, but pub bosses said it was necessary as their customers were unable to park.

Gary Cockburn, assistant manager at the Age UK shop said: “My biggest fear is for the volunteers. We have a couple of volunteers who’ve always used the Reeds Rains side of the car park thinking it was council land. One lady who struggles to walk is very concerned as there’s no other place to park in the area. It will also affect people dropping off donations.”

Jenna Whittingham of the Beauty & The Boutique salon, said: “This is causing bad blood. We send our customers there and have staff parties there, and this is ruining good will.”

She added: “Since it’s been brought in the car park’s been empty, and thayt will put people off. They’ll think the pub’s dead, so they’re shooting themselves in the foot.”

A spokesperson for Spirit Pub Company said the charge was brought in following guest feedback to stop non-pub visitors blocking spaces.

He said: “Although we appreciate this may be an inconvenience, we do refund the £1 cost of the parking to all paying guests and offer change for any guests who are caught short. We also make available an overnight parking permit to any guests who wish to enjoy a few drinks and take a taxi home, to ensure they are not fined.”

Penwortham Councillor David Howarth said: “I can fully understand why they’ve decided to do it, it’s private land for a private business and people have been abusing it by parking up there and getting the bus into town. However, the Town Council is keen to see whether there is some possibility of a compromise that can be reached with the pub bosses.”