The company responsible for a number of car parks across the town centre owes almost £4 million to Bolton Council.

National Car Parks Limited (NCP Ltd) is asking the authority to wipe out a part of the sum "in the spirit of partnership".

When NCP Ltd agreed to a contract with the council 14 years ago, it agreed to a Guaranteed Revenue Payment to be paid once a month and to be reviewed once a year in line with inflation in return for the right to run the multi-storey car parks on Deane Road and Topp Way, the two car parks next to The Octagon, the car park next to the market and the on-street terminals across the town centre.

Currently, this Guaranteed Revenue Payment stands at around £80,000 plus VAT.

But NCP Ltd owes almost £4 million to Bolton Council after it missed the payment over the course of the coronavirus crisis as its car parks were closed or unused due to lockdowns and restrictions.

It is asking the authority to wipe out a part of the sum for March 2020 to January 2022 and to cut the amount of the Guaranteed Revenue Payment to the amount it was when it agreed to the contract.

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A report reads: "The debt is due to non-payment of the Guaranteed Revenue Payment throughout this period and, in the spirit of partnership, NCP Ltd requested this be reduced for the period March 2020 to January 2022 in acknowledgement of the impact the lockdowns and restrictions have had on their business which could not have been foreseen or forecast during the contract lifecycle."

The cost of the request to the council is around £1.2 million plus VAT.

The cabinet is recommended to approve it when it meets on Monday.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: "The pandemic had a significant financial impact on businesses of all types including car park operators. This report sets out proposals to reach a constructive settlement with NCP Ltd in respect of outstanding payments and to continue the longstanding partnership between the operator and the council.

"The decision will be taken by the cabinet on Monday."

A spokesperson for NCP Ltd declined to comment.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.