Government calls for free parking close to high streets have been met with mixed responses from people in Lancashire.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles called on local authorities to offer drivers free parking for 30 minutes.
But while the idea has been welcomed by traders’ representatives, others believe it could cause traffic “gridlock” in town centres.
Malcolm Allen, chairman of the Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said he thought the idea would encourage people to shop on the high street.
He said: “As part of the reopening of Market Street, Chorley Traders’s Alliance have been fighting for about 26 spaces for people to park for 30 minutes so we are already ahead of the game.
“I think other councils should adopt the idea.”
He added: “We’re never going to do away with the car and there’s certain areas of town where it’s essential to have a car, so it would be good for other towns to follow suit.
“Free parking is an encouragement to get people to shop locally and cut down on the cost of petrol, and also to help revive the high street.”
However, critics believe free parking could cause traffic problems and issues for users of public transport.
Aidan Turner-Bishop of the Lancashire branch of the Campaign for Better Transport said: “There’s no such thing as free parking.
“It takes up land, it takes up space and it has to be managed.
“The other people who have firm opinions about on-street parking are bus companies, and also disabled people and people with prams and buggies, because buses can’t pull into the kerb side.”
He said: “I can see the point with delivery vans because they’ve got to unload, but with street parking, it slows everything down.
“If you’re going to have on street parking, expect to travel very ,very slowly.
He added: “It sounds nice, but someone has to pay for it.
“If you’re going to be selfish enough to drive a car, you’ve got to pay for it.
“You can’t have it both ways - if you want to use a scarce resource it will have to be rationed.”