HIGH car parking costs and over-zealous traffic wardens are to blame for Bolton’s struggling town centre, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr John Walsh, leader of the local Tory group, will tomorrow argue the point at a full Bolton Council meeting.

He will also call on the council to restore the “viability and vitality of Bolton town centre and to “retain and regain the lost uniqueness and historic nature of Bolton”.

He will also state the need for more parking spaces at Bolton Market and criticise broken paving in Deansgate and Churchgate.

Cllr Walsh will say: “The council is reminded of the calls from the major retailers of the need for fresh ideas to reinvigorate the town like a family friendly cafe and restaurant area near to the centre of the town.”

But Cllr Walsh’s claims have been slammed by his opposite number, Labour leader Cllr Cliff Morris.

He said: “Firstly, it is plainly wrong in its analysis of the position of Bolton town centre which is actually doing okay compared to many town centres in the current economic climate.

“Secondly, it attempts to tell a big lie about the reason the town centre is facing challenges. It is all the council’s fault, he claims, rather than the economic downturn and the rise of internet shopping.

“He ignores all the good work the council has, is and will do to support not just Bolton town centre but all town centres in the borough.”