NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 6th, 2011.
Wrexham Council has today given the go ahead free parking proposals which will see shoppers allowed to park for free after 12pm at two town centre car parks.
The pilot scheme, which will launch at the end of October, was voted through at an executive board meeting this afternoon and councillors said they were hopeful that it will bring a boost to trade in Wrexham.
It will mean that shoppers can park for free after 12pm in the council owned car parks on Crescent Road and in the People’s Market multi storey.
Councillors welcomed the proposals describing them as “a positive move” for the town, Plaid Cymru Councillor Arfon Jones said: “Traders I’ve spoken to on the high street who seem to be suffering the most have welcomed this move, so it’s very positive.”
Cllr Ron Davies, Leader of the Council, said: “This is excellent news for town centre traders, visitors and shoppers alike and I am pleased members of the Executive Board give have given it the go ahead. Officers are also looking at a range of other matters to improve access to the town centre which will be presented to Environment and Scrutiny Committee in November.”
Council officer Darren Williams put forward the proposals as a result of consultation meetings with traders from the Town Centre Forum and Wrexham Chamber of Trade and Tourism following failed attempts to charge for on street parking earlier in the year.
Traders had voiced their concerns about the economic effect of the proposed charges and encouraged the council to do something positive to boost Wrexham’s economy.
Mr Williams said that seven out of the nine council owned town centre car parks were operating at their 85% target level, which is currently being monitored by real time parking data.
However, he added that the Crescent Road and People’s Market car parks were the two operating below that level and both also saw a significant drop in occupancy after 12pm.
Therefore it was decided to offer the free parking pilot scheme in order to encourage more people to come to Wrexham and provide a boost for local traders and increase occupancy levels at both car parks, with empty spaces currently costing the council.
Those using the car parks will still be required to obtain a ticket to display which will help record the success of the pilot but no charges will apply.
The estimated loss that the council will incur from ticket sales is estimated at between £40,000 and £50,000 however it is hoped that the economic benefits for the town will outweigh the losses. Additionally the losses have been incorporated into the Environmental Departments cash limited budget.
A report will be made to the executive board on the scheme’s viability within the next 12 months which will most likely decide whether it will continue beyond the trial period.
An additional motion was also passed to limit the maximum stay at the popular council owned car park on St George’s Crescent from three hours down to two.
Do you think that free parking in the town centre will provide a boost to Wrexham’s economy? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.