There are fears that the temporary closure of the overspill car park at Worden Park will drive vehicles onto the surrounding streets – especially if it is not reopened by the time Runshaw College students return from their summer break.

The car park – which has been used by students during term time for the past three years after South Ribble Council issued 100 passes granting them permission – has been shut for major repairs.

But a full council meeting heard that it is not yet known how long the work will take – and Buckshaw and Worden ward councillor Alan Ogilvie, while welcoming the repairs, warned of a rough road ahead for residents living nearby.

“It’s the middle of the summer holidays when families will be flocking to Worden Park.   [If they] find the reduced-capacity car park is full, they will then be tempted out onto the streets of the Worden estate – and we know there is a longstanding contention regarding parking restrictions,” Cllr Ogilvie said.

“If it’s not completed before the students go back in early September, then we will not be making any student permits available – and that will [send them] onto the Worden estate, too.”

Free parking on the main car park has been reduced from three hours to 90 minutes for the duration of the closure and cabinet member for the environment Sue Jones pledged that the temporary restriction would be policed.

However, she said that it was students’ use of the overspill car park which had resulted in the need for such extensive repairs – which will cost the council £120,000.

“The damage to the surface has been appalling and the repairs…should have been done a long time ago,” Cllr Jones said.

“Worden Park car park is not there for the benefit of Runshaw students, it’s there for the benefit of our community.   The last administration sold those car parking permits to students – and that’s where the problem lies.

“We hope to have done [the work] in such a way that people will still be able to use the main car park freely – and I do sympathise with people who live on the [surrounding] roads, but hopefully they shouldn’t be affected.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Runshaw College said: “The College have regular meetings with South Ribble Borough Council and a very good relationship with their teams – and we were notified well in advance that the overflow car park is to be repaired and that the council will not be selling any parking permits for the first term.  

“The council only offers a maximum of 100 permits and private parking is also available via Euxton Villa Football Ground.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Sue Jones, cabinet member for environment at South Ribble Borough Council, said:

“A little over five years ago, the council undertook a scheme to improve the surface of the overflow car park, to create a surface which would be useable for the majority of the year.

“Around three years ago, we started selling a limited number of places on the overflow car park to Runshaw College students on a permit basis.

“The surface of the car park has failed in places due to overuse – and now, pending the completion of repair work at this site, we are having to close the car park and suspend permits in order to deliver the required improvements.

“There is no scheduled completion date for this work, simply owing to the fact that weather conditions and other external factors can affect the progress of such projects.

“Once we have completed the repairs, considerations towards future usage of the car park will be discussed.”