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24 hour tariff of £1 for country parks parking reiterated by Council

Questions have been been asked over the introduction of parking charges at local country parks – with text in an initial council report earlier this year differing from what was later implemented.

In May 2018 Wrexham Council introduced a £1 daily parking fee for visitors of Alyn Waters, Nant Mill and Ty Mawr country parks.

The charges were introduced as part of the local authority’s budget process, with an estimation that the new parking fees could generate £47,000 for the council.

However questions have been raised over seemingly conflicting information over the times the parking charges apply, with a document presented to councillors in January 2018 listing the below in the equality / human rights section.

However a statutory consultation period which took place during March sought the public’s views of the introduction of a 24 hour parking charge – which has since been implemented at the three country parks.

The initial comments in the executive board report have caused some confusion for users of the park in the evening, who believed that it would be free of charge to park after 5pm.

Speaking at yesterday’s executive board, Llay Councillor Bryan Apsley queried when the decision was made to amend the 9-5 proposal, noting that it affects “those who use the parks in what they thought was a non-chargeable period.

He added: “I would like to know if there was an amendment to the 9-5 proposal at the executive board on January 9th and when it was made and who made it.

“Could I also ask the lead member for youth services and anti-poverty why he didn’t intervene as it will affect the youth footballers – approximately 220 and their families – and those who cannot afford extra expense in these austere times?”

Providing a background on the process over the past six months and the decision making process, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr David A Bithell, said: “A report presented to the executive board on January 9th sought members permission to proceed with the necessary statutory consultation required for the implementation of disabled parking charges; together with the introduction of parking charges at Nant Mill, Alyn Waters and Ty Mawr.

“Members supported the following recommendations – that a daily charge of £1 for visitors to Nant Mill, Alyn Waters and Ty Mawr together with a concessionary annual parking permit of £50.”

He added: “The decision of the executive board was subsequently challenged and debated by the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee on February 7th.

“Members of that committee supported the recommendation that the decision taken by the executive board should be upheld and not referred back for reconsideration.

“Subsequently the proposals as agreed were published for public consultation between 1st March and 29th March, including a 24 hour tariff of £1 for country parks.

“All responses received were duly considered by the head of environment and planning in consultation with the lead member for environment and transport. Under delegated authority the head of environment and planning made a decision to implement the proposals as consulted, with the exception that parking would remain free for those displaying a valid blue badge in our country parks.”

Lead Member for Youth Services and Anti-Poverty, Cllr Andrew Atkinson responded to the point made to him: “With regards to the 24 hour charge and my lack of intervention, all I can say is you’re the man on the ground with the local knowledge. I am not involved in operational decisions.

“If there is anything you feel you want my help with, need assistance with or want to draw to my attention, please give me a call or email anytime, as you or any member is welcome to do. If I can assist with something then I will.”

The question from Cllr Apsley was possibly prompted after Llay United football club expressed their anger at parking charges over the weekend:

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