A SENIOR councillor has called for a radical review of car parking policies in shopping centres across the borough.

In a notice of motion at the full council meeting on March 19, Oxton Liberal Democrat Stuart Kelly claims the council has ignored its own policy objectives and failed to ensure charges in Birkenhead, Liscard, West Kirby and Heswall were 'not detrimental to the economic well-being of shopping and commercial centres.'

He adds that charges are used as a 'cash cow' to augment Council income, rather than aiding local business and support centre viability and calls on the ruling Labour cabinet to instruct officers to work with retail organisations on a scheme of charges that meet the objectives identified in 2014.

Cllr Kelly told the Globe: "Declining footfall is damaging to these key retail centres, the council needs to address all the issues contributing to this and car parking charges should come under the microscope.

"My own suggestion is to run a loyalty card scheme were customers are able to get a refund if they spend a given amount in the centres.

"I shall be putting this idea to the council meeting at the end of March.

"ASDA in Birkenhead runs a scheme were they refund parking charges for their customers.

"We need to take our lead from the private sector who know how to attract customers.

"The council just uses car parking charges as a cash cow with no regard to the effect they may be having, the new charges at the country parks and coastal areas proves this point.

"They are also ignoring their own policies on car parking charges which require them to have regard to 'ensure that the price for car parking is fair and not detrimental to the economic well-being of shopping and commercial centres' when looking at fees.

"The Council talks a lot about supporting regeneration in Birkenhead without action; We need a radical approach to regeneration in all Wirral's retail centres."

A council spokesperson said: "Wirral Council has among the cheapest car parking charges of any area in the region.

"The money this does generate goes towards vital frontline services upon which local residents depend.

"During a time of prolonged austerity, where just this year we have had to find savings of £61 million, these services need every bit of support they can get.

"We are also doing everything we can to support local businesses, particularly retail and the local high street.

"This Council recently announced one of the most ambitious regeneration schemes the borough has ever seen, and through Wirral Growth Company revealed plans to revitalise Birkenhead town centre as well as creating thousands of new jobs and attracting millions of pounds of investment."