Residents call for "urgent review" of parking in Whitehaven Town Centre following the closure of a multi-storey car park.

It was announced by Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners last week that "due to decreased demand", the Swingpump Lane multi-storey would be closing over the weekends from February.

And Mayor of Whitehaven, Councillor Brian O'Kane 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.

"Well congratulations to WHC – you have done it again," she said.

"You purchased the multi-storey car park for a low fee, you do not spend any money on it until Albion Square needed to use it, and you were paid a lot of money for that privilege.

"However you were given that amount of money, and you still cannot open at weekends for the benefit of not only the local people but possible shoppers to the town – hang your head in shame."

She continued: "As a Councillor I have two main issues that I get real grievous about, one is home group, and the second is yourselves.

"As a member of the public I would like to see your accounts, I would like to see were you spend the money that you get, and how if possible you could work with the town, because unless we work together with you as a company we will achieve nothing.

"A beautiful harbour is all well and good, but it needs people to help it flourish."

Wils Hambling Butchers owner, David Dawson, echoed the councillors' fury, feeling 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 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 1hr parking to the general public at weekends. This was also advertised on the MSCP."

They 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."

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