THE future of one of Dalton’s biggest free car parks is uncertain, councillors have warned.

Barrow Council leased Tudor Square Car Park but has not been able to agree a new lease with its owners.

The deadlock has raised concerns that the Broughton Road car park could now be lost.

Barrow Council chief executive Phil Huck said its lease expired in May 2016 and the car park owners had allowed extensions for negotiations.

He said the council made a “generous offer” and had made “numerous attempts” to agree new terms but had not been successful.

Mr Huck said the council had offered to buy the land and run it as a free car park and had written to the owners’ solicitors but there had been “no contact”.

Councillors have now agreed that the council withdraw from all involvement from the car park amid fears it could be held liable in the event of an accident.

Mr Huck said: “It is with great reluctance I recommend this. I am not confident of the legal position and I am worried that the council is exposing itself to a liability if the current impasse continues.”

Cllr Brendan Sweeney said the council would have been “very happy” to carry on running the car park if the lease could be agreed.

“This is entirely down to the fact we can’t get a signature on the lease,” said Cllr Sweeney.

Cllr David Pidduck, Barrow Council, said the council was the “innocent” party but it had a responsibility to protect taxpayers from legal liabilities.

Cllr Wendy Maddox asked whether there was any rule to stop building on the car park, and Mr Huck said he was not aware of one.

“I’m really disappointed to lose this, because the council has tried and tried to keep the lease,” said Cllr Maddox.. “Parking in Dalton is absolutely dreadful. God knows what’s going to happen,” she said.

Cllr Des Barlow said a question now remained over what would happen to the car park in future, once the council walked away.

“We have offered to buy it and offered to lease it. It’s a valued facility for Dalton to people to park off the road and it makes me wonder now what’s going to happen to it,” said Cllr Barlow.