Blackpool’s publicly owned car parks were 70 per cent busier this season compared to last year – showing how the resort bounced back following lockdown.

Figures revealed by the council show patronage of the 22 car parks it operates increased to 641,722 during April to September 2021, compared to 377,284 for the same time last year.

Income increased by 63 per cent, or £1.5m, from £2.4m in 2020 to £3.9m this year.

It was a similar story for on-street parking, where income increased by £261,612 to £743,195, a jump of 54 per cent between last year ad 2021.

Parking revenue was also slightly higher in 2020 when compared to pre-Covid times in 2019.

The Pay By Phone app also attracted new users with nearly 152,000 transactions in 2021 compared to just under 64,000 in 2020.

A report to the tourism, economy and communities scrutiny committee says: “As we moved into this new financial year at the start of April large parts of the tourism and hospitality sector remained in lockdown, which meant a significant downturn in visitor numbers at Easter and the early May Bank Holiday.

“However, as the Government roadmap out of lockdown unfolded there was a dramatic recovery in visitor numbers from late May onwards, illustrated by high levels of footfall and parking usage during the summer and autumn season.

“In the 24 weeks between May 17 (when most of the tourism and hospitality industry was allowed to reopen) and the end of October, patronage on our car parks was higher than the 2019 figure on all but four weeks.”

This year saw the closure of two council car parks – Tower Street which is the site of the Houndshill Shopping Centre extension which is being built, and Wimbourne Place on South Promenade which is being redeveloped to provide an extension to the Hampton By Hilton Hotel.

The council operates around 900 on street parking bays, and owns 20 car parks and manages two privately owned car parks, with a combined total of more than 5,000 parking spaces.

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