Wrexham Council is set to run the rule over proposals to introduce free parking to two town centre car parks at an executive board meeting next Tuesday.
Under the proposals a pilot scheme will offer free parking after 12 noon at the People’s Market and Crescent Road car parks in order to encourage shoppers and visitors to the town centre to help boost trade.
If the proposals are approved it would represent almost a complete u-turn on proposals put forward by the council earlier this year to charge shoppers to use free parking bays in Wrexham town centre.
The scheme was eventually scrapped following a public outcry by traders and shoppers alike who said that the council should be doing more to encourage shoppers to the town.
It would appear that the council has listened to their concerns as the move follows an informal consultation with the Town Centre Forum and Wrexham Chamber of Trade which took place after the proposals for on street parking charges were scrapped.
Traders raised their concerns that due to the current economic situation any on street charging proposals would be damaging to the business of the town centre and could hinder any future recovery.
The council said that their proposals to pilot free car parking have come in direct response to those concerns in order to encourage greater use and of Wrexham Council’s town centre based car parks.
The news may offer some relief to traders at the People’s Market following the recent closure of TJ Hughes, which was often used as a walk through by people visiting the market.
Cllr Ron Davies, Leader of the Council, said:
“This is excellent news for town centre traders, visitors and shoppers alike and I hope members of the Executive Board give it the go ahead next week.
“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.”
Cllr David Bithell, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for the Environment and Transport, said:
“We have met with traders in the town centre and have listened to their concerns for their businesses during these difficult economic times. We hope the move will be welcomed by businesses, visitors and shoppers who will all benefit from free parking in the town centre.”
The report identifies that analysis of the council’s car parking occupancy figures reveals the two car parks proposed to benefit from free car parking are currently operating under the council’s 85% desired occupancy and that the opportunity now exists to encourage greater usage by offering them free after 12 noon.
If approved the pilot will begin at the end of October and will be monitored by the Head of Environment. Free parking will be available from 12 noon at Crescent Road and the People’s Market car parks. 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.
Wrexham.com reporters will be attending next week’s executive board meeting to let you know whether the proposals are successful.
Do you think the pilot scheme will provide a boost for traders in Wrexham? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.