Security staff have been criticised after foreign tourists were left spluttering on choking exhaust fumes during a visit to Sir Robert Peel’s statue in Preston’s picturesque Winckley Square.
The guards were accused of sitting in an illegally parked car with its engine running next to the former Prime Minister’s monument while a group including German and Italian sightseers were being treated to a guided tour of the historic gardens.
“Some on the walk were speechless that the car was parked on double yellow lines with its engine running,” said tour guide Steve Harrison, from the Friends of Winckley Square.
“The security staff were just lounging inside the car while it pumped fumes into the atmosphere. Both Preston Council and LCC promote Winckley Square as a visitor destination. Yet this sort of thing is being allowed.”
Mr Harrison said he had made regular complaints to County Hall over a three-week period about the illegal parking of guards watching over two apartment developments at the square’s junction with Cross Street. But he claimed the authority had done nothing to prevent it.
However his allegation was denied by Peter Bell, LCC’s regulation and enforcement manager, who said the matter was being dealt with.
“Our enforcement officers visit Winckley Square every day and were made aware of this complaint so that they could take appropriate action,” he said.
“We have now spoken with the site manager to raise these issues and they have agreed to instruct the drivers to observe the regulations in place. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
The out-of-hours guards take care of two former office blocks - Winckley House and Guild House - which are being converted into 76 and 46 apartments respectively.
Developer Guy Ladson, of Ladson NW Ltd in Chesdle Hume, told the Post: “This is the first I’ve heard of this. We haven’t received any complaints at our end.
"But I will have a word with the site and tell staff not to park there or leave their engines running.”