A major row is brewing in Kirkby Lonsdale over new parking changes introduced by Booths supermarket.

Owning two car parks in the town, the Preston-based chain is now limiting drivers to park for no more than two hours - or four in their smaller parking facility - or risk facing a £100 fine.

The new regulations apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when the store is closed.

The Kirkby Lonsdale & Lune Valley Community Interest Company (CIC) argues that the move effectively bars evening, late night or overnight parking at two of the town’s five car parks.

The other three are run by Westmorland and Furness Council where motorists can still buy as much time as they need, or park free of charge between 6pm and 8am.

Town council chair Michael Burchnall said after a council meeting: "Before discussing the issue, the council recognised the importance of Booths to the economy of the town, as a major employer and for all the charitable work that is supported by the store.

"However, in relation to the main Booths car park and a second Booths-owned car park on Wellington Court, the council agreed with all the concerns raised locally."

The issue was posed to the council by Allan Muirhead of the CIC, who claimed that 100 parking spaces would be lost as part of the changes.

Councillor Hazel Hodgson has expressed her concern at the loss of 24 hour parking, asking for a supporting letter from Tim Farron MP.

"The Council, together with the CIC and Councillor Hodgson, request an urgent meeting with senior management at Booths to discuss concerns that are outlined in the report," Mr Burchnall added.

Up until September 1, the car parks were operated by Westmorland and Furness Council (WFC) on behalf of Booths before a company called Parking Eye took over.

A spokesman for Booths said their customers had struggled to find spaces, prompting the changes, and that the response from visitors has been 'favourable'.

The spokesman said: "To ensure that customers have a better and easier opportunity to park we introduced some welcome changes to our car parking terms.

"Booths have very carefully considered the needs of their customers to be able to park and shop at Booths while continuing to support the wider community and town centre with access to a secondary car park."