Calls have been made for an urgent review of parking in Whitehaven town centre following the closure of the multi-storey car park.

Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners announced that “due to decreased demand” the Swingpump Lane car park would be closing during weekends from February.

Mayor of Whitehaven, Councillor Brian O’Kane said he is upset and concerned by the closure.

“The parking situation in the town is already severe without this car park being closed on the busiest day of shopping in the town centre,” he said.

“I think overall the whole parking situation in the town needs urgent review, and it needs addressing now.”

He added: “It’s disrupting shopping and businesses in the town centre, and I can say that as a resident of the town.”

Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners outlined alternative parking, saying: “Alternative facilities can be found at Quay Street North and Quay Street South Car Parks just 100 metres away.”

A spokesman said the closure would be reviewed, and “if the demand for its use was sufficient the commissioners would happily support it’s return to weekend use”.

Deputy Mayor of Whitehaven, Carla Arrighi shares her colleague’s frustration, telling WHC to “hang their heads in shame”, saying the closure will deter people from the town. “A beautiful harbour is all well and good, but it needs people to help it flourish,” she added.

Wils Hambling Butchers owner, David Dawson said the closure has only added to the already desperate parking situation in the town centre.

“The parking [in town] is so inadequate, that to take another car park away just makes it seem like businesses are being singled out and aren’t cared about,” he said. “There are so many hours of potential shoppers that will be missed out on because of yet another parking option being taken away.”

He added: “We’re all suffering, and I’m just echoing other businesses who have talked about this problem as well.”

Although considered to be “disappointing” by surrounding shops, and felt to be “against small businesses”, some are understanding of the commissioners’ decision.

Andrew McDowell of McDowell’s Newsagents on Market Place said: “It’s a shame that it’s closing because it’s underused.

“It’s not used a lot on Saturdays, so I can see where they’re coming from with closing it.”

He added: “It is definitely a shame, but I don’t know what could be done to save it, really. Unfortunately there’s not much to come to Whitehaven for on a Saturday anymore, so the car park wasn’t being used.”

Gin and Beer It co-owner David Pegram shared similar views, saying: “I personally didn’t know the car park was open on the weekends, so I doubt it’ll affect businesses.”

A spokesman for Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners said: “The weekend income for the MSCP (multi-storey car park) has been minimal in comparison to its running costs, which includes both manpower and electricity.

“Therefore it was decided by the Commissioners that is was best to close the MSCP to ensure maximum income can be properly re-invested into the community through the conservation and maintenance of Whitehaven Harbour. WHC had flyers posted throughout the town in March 2017 advising that the MSCP was offering free one hour parking to the general public at weekends. This was also advertised on the MSCP.”

The spokesman continued: “WHC can categorically state that contrary to information posted online, there have been no parking charge notices issued within the Multi-Storey Car Park in the last five years period.

The closure of the MSCP will also be reviewed appropriately, meaning, if the demand for its use was sufficient the commissioners would happily support it’s return to weekend use.”

The spokesman also urged anyone with queries or comments to contact them via the contact details on their website at