COPELAND’s mayor will have the final say on whether free parking is offered over Christmas.

The district council operates 10 chargeable car parks in Whitehaven, Egremont and St Bees, generating a total income to the council of around £450,000 a year.

At a meeting on Monday, Copeland council’s executive committee decided to delegate powers to Mike Starkie to decide whether to offer free parking over Christmas.

Data for December 2018 shows that car parking generated income for the council of around £1,500 per day.

Last year free parking was offered in Whitehaven and Egremont for the towns’ respective Christmas light switch-on events, and for all Copeland car parks from December 22 to January 1.

Mr Starkie said: “The benefit of discussing this now is that we can speak to other partners and car park owners.”

He added a decision would be made after he had liaised with other parties.