COUNCILLORS are set to allow the operators of a large multi-storey car park in Sheffield city centre to bend planning rules to help them survive the downturn.
The 700-space car park on the corner of Eyre Street and Earl Street opened early in 2009, but operators APCOA almost immediately ran into trouble.
“Usage was light, and the car park was almost empty,” said a report drawn up by council officers.
It was intended primarily for shoppers, with 70 per cent of spaces for short-stay and 30 per cent long-stay.
Officers visited in April 2010 and found rules were being broken, parking was being offered at £3 a day and the place was almost full.
Their report said: “Subsequent visits have generally confirmed this pattern of use. It is clear most of the cars parked in the building are likely to be long-stay, in breach of the planning permission.”
Officers recommend APCOA be allowed a 50-50 split on short-stay and long-stay parking. They said they should be allowed more long-stay parking until the nearby Moor indoor market is completed in late 2013.
“It is reasonable on balance to allow the operators to have an income from the development, which would otherwise be doubtful,” they said.
Objections came from South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Green councillor Rob Murphy about increasing congestion and air pollution.
A decision will be taken by the planning board on Monday.