PROPOSALS by county council bosses to introduce new car parking charges at two beauty spots in East Lancashire have sparked controversy.

Councillors are being asked to approve pay and display sites at Wycoller Country Park, near Colne, and Springwood Picnic Site, near Whalley, and a third location at Conder Green in Lancaster.

An extra £18,300 would be recouped for the authority’s coffers each year, it is estimated, from the three car parks, helping to offset the £134,000 running costs for the country parks.

But Coun Paul White, who represents Pendle East, believes the move will be ‘terrible’ for the rural economy and could drive away visitors.

He said: “We have a long record of keeping car parking free in Pendle and we are not going to stand for someone coming in and imposing car parking charges on us.”

He is also concerned that, with no proposals to provide extra security, the move will prove unpopular with motorists and countryside users. County council environment director Jo Turton has outlined plans to install six pay and display machines, at the three sites, leaving a £32,000 bill.

Rangers would then be asked to deal with maintenance issues such as replacement ticket and coin and ticket jams. The standard charge per visit would be £1 and a season ticket of £50 has been discussed for regular users.

It has been acknowledged that there could be some ‘displacement’ parking, caused by drivers trying to avoid the fees, especially at Wycoller.

But the Springwood site can only be reached directly off the nearby bypass.

Similar charges have been introduced at Beacon Fell Country Park, in Wyre, and the Crook O’Lune picnic area, in Lancas ter.