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Clarity over free December parking – “Cars found to stay longer than maximum time allowed will receive fines”

Shoppers and visitors who stay longer than the maximum available time in short-stay car parks operated by the council will be fined, even though it is free to park through December.

In October 2017 Wrexham Council announced that it would be free to park in all car parks operated by the local authority between Friday 1st December and Sunday 31s December.

The announcement followed a similar initiative from last year, which aimed to boost footfall and trade for local businesses over the Christmas period.

While it is free to park in council-operated car parks, this does depend on the maximum stay time usually in place at each individual car parks. For example to park in a short-stay car park it will be free for two hours. In a long-stay car park it will be free all day.

Speaking at last night’s Town Centre Forum, Wrexham Council Events Manager, Amanda Davies said there had already been positive feedback and that the car parks are full.

However questions were asked about how long people can use the free parking for with owner of La Baguette on Regent Street, Matt McHale stating: “If a ticket has not been issued, how are they going to know who has been in that car park.

“Where some of it came from is people in the forum said it can’t be free all day as you will have people who working in town park all day. The council then backtracked and said time limits.

“We were not consulted as usual, it should be free parking after 10am.”

Another forum member pointed out that the signage for the free parking and the time limit was not clear enough for shoppers. When Wrexham.com popped down the Library Car Park today, the only signage is pictured above, which does not state how long parking is free for.

Amanda said that a request for clearer signage had been made and that “workers are still shoppers, we can’t exclude them”.

There was also some confusion as to whether the car parks would be patrolled and if people who parked for longer than two hours would be fined.

Cllr Dana Davies said: “Are we saying that we are policing short-stay car parks when offering free car parking? If we are policing them, does that mean people are being fined for staying longer?

“If someone doesn’t pay the fine, I don’t know if we can enforce it. If there is an FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice) on free parking, there’s no legal basis.”

Amanda said: “The idea was that the location of short-stay car parks are closer to town. If someone is staying for day, then they should do long-stay so those are popping in have short-stay.

“It is not to penalise anyone, it is to encourage people to park in long stay.”

This morning Wrexham.com contacted Wrexham Council asking if there was any clarification about whether the short stay car parks will be patrolled and if cars will be ticketed if parked there longer than two hours.

We also asked if signage would be made clearer in the car parks about how long shoppers and visitors can park for free.

Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Patrols will be carried out at car parks, and cars found to have stayed longer than the maximum time allowed will receive fines. Although pay and display tickets are not being issued, the patrols will be conducting regular checks.

“We know people are keen to make use of free parking and we welcome that –but we still need to make a distinction between those who only need to come into town briefly and those who park all day.

“We do want people to come into the town, and we will only issue fines if necessary.”

A list of all the long and short stay council operated car parks in the town centre can be found below:

– Crescent Road: two hours and over parking available
– Guildhall (Saturdays and Sundays only): two hours maximum
– Library: two hours maximum
– Market Street: two hours maximum
– Peoples Market: Levels 1/1a – maximum stay two hours. Levels 2 / 2a / 3 / 3a / 4 / 4a – over two hours
– St George’s Crescent: two hours maximum
– St Giles: two hours maximum
– Waterworld: over three hours available

More information can be found on the Wrexham Council website here.

Remember! It is only free to park in the council operated car parks in town – NOT privately owned ones such as Eagles Meadow, St Marks and Island Green (as examples) So don’t risk a ticket!

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