WORRIES over road safety and access led councillors to reject ambitious plans for a car park in Broughton-in-Furness.

The town’s information centre, which is run by volunteers, had applied for permission to transform grazing land behind Victory Hall into a 37-space pay and display public car park to tackle the lack of car parking in the town.

But members of the Lake District National Park Authority planning committee turned down the scheme after hearing that resident opinion was split for and against, with both Duddon Parish Council and Cumbria Highways, which was concerned about access through Broughton Park, in opposition.

In 2002, a ‘village appraisal assessment’ found there was just enough car parking in the small town, but when Victory Hall was in use there was a problem. At that time 50 per cent of those who responded said they would like to see a new site found.

However, planning officer Mairi Lock told councillors: “No quantitive assessment has been carried out. We therefore do not know if there is a problem and if there is a problems is this the best way to solve it. There is no impirical evidence either way. I am not convinced there is a need. This application has generated a lot of local interest with the community split between supporting and objecting to the project.”

Brian Barden, agent for the applicants, said he was surprised to hear that the Highways Agency had recommended refusal because ‘they told us there was no problem with coming through Broughton Park’.

Coun Norman Clarkson said: “There are certain planning applications that come here that are non-starters and this is one of them. If it had been in the right place I would like to give permission because I know there are problems there and it is not only going to get worse, but then I say would I want to live in this area with this development, and the answer to that is no.”

He added: “Access will be going past this petrol station - clearly there is going to be an accident there.”

Coun Vivienne Rees added: “I think when you get both the Highways Agency and the parish council in opposition, I think it would be foolish of us to go against them.”

The committee voted unanimously against the plan.