The price of parking permits is set to be standardised across Lancashire, if councillors give the green light to the idea next week.

Lancashire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the changes which will equalise the cost of different types of permit in different districts at £25 per year.

A legacy system which involved district authorities being responsible for permit schemes in some areas and County Hall taking charge in others resulted in prices previously varying across Lancashire.

The number of permits on offer in each area and the availability of additional permits for second cars or visitors would be unchanged.  There would be no change to the streets where permits operate – and electric vehicles would be exempt from any charge for them.   

Around 9,000 properties are located in permit areas.

Under the plans, the maximum increase in the cost of a primary residential permit would be £10 in Chorley and the maximum decrease £15 in some zones within Lancaster. However, in Chorley and Preston, where businesses are eligible for permits, the prices they pay will plummet by £100 and £195 respectively.

There will be no changes in Fylde, Ribble Valley, West Lancashire, Burnley or Hyndburn, as the county council already operated the schemes in these areas. Wyre does not currently have a permit system and there are no plans to introduce one in the district.

Papers to be presented to cabinet members state that the new system has been designed to be “fair and equitable”. But there were almost 150 objections registered during a public consultation earlier this year – some of which related to the enforcement of existing schemes.

The document states that it is “not possible to deploy officers to all places at all times”, but that the council will respond with enforcement action if residents highlight particular areas of concern.

However, one Chorley resident is warning that the dramatic drop in the cost of business permits will result in a “free-for-all” in the borough.

As the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed earlier this year when the public consultation was launched, some locals fear that it will make obtaining permits much more attractive for businesses – and leave those living close to the town centre struggling to find a space outside their own homes.

Springfield Road resident, Joanne Rostron, says she is shocked that the new scheme has been recommended for approval without differentiating between households and businesses.

“There are about four car parks around here which are free for three hours and only a few pounds after that – so why should businesses be allowed to park vehicles in residential streets?

“There are more residents than spaces in these streets and this will make matters worse.

“There are people who, for medical or mobility reasons, cannot park elsewhere and then walk to their homes, perhaps carrying shopping as well,” Joanne said.

She also criticised a lack of enforcement from traffic wardens.

“I repeatedly see vehicles parked up without permits, but the wardens are more interested in catching people out for overstaying in the town centre car parks. I put a note on a car a while ago – it had parked directly beneath a sign saying ‘permits only’.”

Cabinet papers indicate that permits cannot be seen as a panacea for parking problems in streets where space is at a premium.

“Residents’ parking schemes seek to remove the external influence of other cars in an area, for example town centre workers, football fans or hospital visitors. They do not guarantee a parking space for a permit holder,” the report notes.