Council votes for rise in car parking charges

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Prices for using short and long stay car parks in the district will go up by between 10p and 50p depending on duration of stay, netting the council an extra £34,700 annually.

Charges for using Williamson Park car parks will also rise, as will car park permits, and charges for parking on some bank holidays in Lancaster will be introduced.

But plans to introduce an evening car parking charge in Morecambe have been scrapped. The decisions were made at a meeting at Morecambe Town Hall on Tuesday.

The cabinet also delayed a decision on whether to charge for delivery of replacement recycling bins and boxes throughout the district.

Sweeping cuts to the arts, which had been expected as the council needed to save £2.3m, have also been put on the backburner.

The Platform in Morecambe will stay open, while cuts to arts organisations like The Dukes theatre, Ludus Dance and Litfest have been avoided.

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of the council, praised council officers for saving £1m through behind the scenes “efficiencies”.

She said: “What was a bleak outlook seems to have changed in the last month.”

But Mark Cullinan, chief executive, warned that savings had been at the expense of service quality and some council jobs.

The council will still carry out a major review of arts and tourism costs over the next year, which could mean further cuts in 2015.

There will also be some changes in 2014 in the drive to save money.

Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres will have reduced opening times and may no longer open on Sundays and some bank holidays.

Jobs could be lost in the council’s marketing department and he council’s residents’ magazine will only be sent out once a year.

The Morecambe Sandcastle festival was the only event to be scrapped altogether.

The annual sandcastle building event will be replaced this year by a major outdoor exhibition called Profiling Morecambe Bay.