Hyndburn council bosses have laughed off claims they contemplated introducing town centre car parking charges.

Free car parking costs the authority an estimated £78,000 a year.

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Dobson told the recent full council meeting he had ‘heard on the grapevine’ from a Labour councillor - later revealed to be Coun Stephen Button - that reversing the policy was being pondered as part of their budget proposals.

He said: “I know, because my ears are close to the ground, that the Labour group were contemplating car parking charges this time. It’s nice to see that they are not included and we stand with one voice on that.”

His comment was met with hoots of derision by Labour councillors.

Coun Button responded: “Can councillor Dobson please have his ears syringed because he has totally misheard what I said.”

Meanwhile, parking charges signs - introduced at the Accrington Arndale Centre in 2016 - have been taken down.

Arndale bosses had introduced a three-hour limit to free parking - previously it was unlimited.

The Arndale Centre has been unavailable for comment about their future plans.

Coun Clare Cleary, who chairs the Accrington Town Team, said she was aware the signs had been removed but did not know what kind of scheme, if anything, would be brought in as a replacement.

She added: “Because it’s privately owned, the council can’t dictate whether they charge or not.”