Ashton car park set to close
Friday 11th November 2016 @ 15:32 by Lee Wild
Ashton News

One of Ashton’s major car parks is set to close under cost cutting measures.

The Ladysmith car park on Gas Street in Ashton.

The Ladysmith car park on Gas Street in Ashton.

Ladysmith shopping centre will be closing their parking facility off Gas Street next Monday (14 November.)

The car park was only reopened 8 years ago following a £4.2million investment by the landlord, however they say after 8 years of running it at a significant loss, they are left with no choice but to close the facility.

Efforts have been made over the past 12 months to investigate charging changes but it’s believed the car park hasn’t made enough money to make it viable.

In addition to its financial issues, the car park is also in a considerable state of disrepair. A recent structural survey showed the ten-year-old lift was not up to standard and could not be refurbished to a satisfactory degree.

The car park provides 186 of the 2,325 parking spaces in Ashton town centre and Ladysmith bosses say that over the past year, 48% of the spaces were taken by staff on an all-day basis. They say these drivers will be able to move to nearby car parks, although at 25% increase in cost.

Neil Lindsay, Centre Manager said: “We deeply regret having to close the car park.

“Closing the car park will provide us with the opportunity to enhance the Centre at the ground floor level by removing the lift and creating an attractive retail space which has largely been pre-let with exciting new brands improving the tenant mix in the Ladysmith.”

Ladysmith say the decision came following discussions with the council and a Tameside Council spokesman said:

“Fortunately for people who used the Ladysmith Centre, there are plenty of council-owned parking spaces in Ashton.

“Tameside Council is always keen to support local businesses and for that reason we have made our rates affordable and very competitive.

“We look forward to welcoming lots of shoppers to Ashton and all our town centres over Christmas.”

However with the loss of 186 town centre spaces, 12.5% of the total, just before the Christmas rush, it remains to be seen how Ashton will cope with the traditional influx of seasonal shoppers.

Earlier in the year, the council tried to impose new on-street parking charges, which would have seen it cost £5 for over an hours parking on some of the main roads in the town centre, although these plans were defeated by a slim 5-4 majority in a speaker’s panel on planning at Dukinfield Town Hall in May this year.