Formby Labour MP Bill Esterson has written to Sefton Council directors to urge them to think again about plans to introduce parking charges at Sumner Road car park after an AA study found that the introduction of charges deters shoppers from visiting the high street.
Sefton Council is currently preparing to introduce charges at the popular Formby Village car park.
The authority, which has faced unprecedented cuts from central government over the past five years has held a full-scale review of parking throughout the borough. Proposals have been drawn up to introduce charges for parking at locations throughout Sefton in order to help the council overcome its massive budget shortfall.
But in a letter to the authority, Bill Esterson referenced an AA study which shows that parking charges have a detrimental effect on local businesses and therefore the local economy.
In his letter, Bill Esteron wrote: "[In light of the AA survey] I would urge you to reconsider the impact in Formby on traders and on the economy and whether the increase in revenue from charging at Sumner Road really will have a beneficial impact on Formby or the residents of Sefton as a whole. I understand the very difficult financial situation faced by the local authority but share the concerns of many residents, traders and shoppers about the potential negative impact of the proposed charges."
The AA survey found that nearly three quarters of motorists say the charges determine whether they visit a town centre, resort or attraction.
The AA said the cost of parking can be critical for high streets and tourist areas.
Bill Esterson said: "The AA survey supports what many of our local businesses and shoppers have been saying for a long time. Parking charges can be damaging for business.
"With the local economy as fragile as it is and many businesses reporting a downturn in business, then these findings should not be considered.
"While Sefton is facing yet more huge cuts from the Conservatives in Government, on top of the hundreds of millions of pounds that have already been cut from the authority's budget in the past five years, I fear that the tactic of generating an income from introducing parking charges may be counter productive because of the effect on businesses.
"What revenue will be generated if shoppers keep away from our local shops? Businesses could end up closing, leading to a loss in business rate revenue and with the loss of those businesses there will be the loss of the employment and jobs that they provide."
The Labour MP is asking Sefton Council to think again.
Bill said: "Sumner Road car park is a well used facility that brings much needed shoppers into the Village. The shoppers are the lifeblood of the local businesses. Any measure that threatens to keep those shoppers away needs to be reconsidered.
"I agree with the businesses and shoppers who have contacted me with their concerns about this issue. It could be a mistake for the Village and the businesses here.
"These proposals are being drawn up by the council in an attempt to deal with the Tory cuts to their funding which are jeopardising vital services in the borough. The council is in a lose-lose situation. Anger for this needs to be directed at the Conservatives in Government and I urge everyone, shoppers, businesses and councillors alike, who are campaigning against these charges to join me in lobbying the government to provide a fair budgetary settlement to our local authority so that proposals like parking charges don't even need to be considered.
"the Tory Government's 'cut now and deal with the consequences later' approach is devastating our communities and leading to irreversible damage to our high streets, local businesses and our local economy and we should campaign against these Tory-led parking charges."