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Proposals for longer parking tariffs in all council-owned car parks and scrapping of ‘free after three’ scheme

Revised parking tariffs and the scrapping of a ‘free after three’ scheme could come into play in all council owned car parks from early 2018.

The proposals, which include the return of a 1-3 hour parking tariff in all council-owned car parks, feature in a report on parking charges due before the Executive Board next week.

Currently Waterworld, Crescent Road and certain levels of Tŷ Pawb (formerly the People’s Market) offer visitors the opportunity to park for over three hours.

However one of the key changes proposed in next week’s Executive Board is a 1-3 hour parking tariff which would be available in all council-owned car parks for £1.80. This would be a 20p reduction on the £2 cost at Tŷ Pawb and Waterworld, but 30p more expensive at Crescent Road.

A 1-3 hour parking tariff had previously been available in Waterworld, St Giles, Peoples Market and Crescent Road car parks – however this was scrapped in 2013 as part of a series of changes, including a 100% increase in parking charges in a number of car parks.

Other proposed changes include a reduction in the all-day charge to £3 between Monday to Friday at Waterworld / Crown Buildings car parks. Currently it costs £4 to park at the site for over three hours. There will also be a reduction from £350 to £300 for a six month parking payment.

Two town centre car parks will see increases in their charges, with all day parking at Crescent Road to go from £1.50 to £2 to park all day. Those who use a six month parking permit at the car park will also see the cost increase from £168 to £200.

Crescent Road and Tŷ Pawb (formerly the People’s Market) car parks will also see the removal of ‘free after three’ – an initiative which replaced the ‘free after midday’ scheme in 2013.

As a result parking charges will be in place until 6pm at both car parks, along with the introduction of a £1 evening charge from 6pm until midnight. Due to the ‘free after three’ scheme, parking in the evenings had been free for several years.

Tŷ Pawb would also see a parking increase, moving from 50p to £1 to park for an hour. There would also be an increase in the all day charge from £2 to £2.50.

Readers of Wrexham.com will be aware that slight changes to the prices at the Tŷ Pawb car park were put forward in the business plan, which Wrexham Council reaffirmed its commitment to earlier this year.

In a report due before councillors next week, the further changes proposed to car parks have been put forward as a result of: “Continual analysis and review of car park data and feedback from the public and local businesses operating in the town centre, a number of revisions are proposed to the tariff and charging structures to address, as far as is practicable, existing and emerging parking demands.

“The anticipated effects of these proposed changes are to deliver a better balance of parking demands across the Council’s Town Centre operated car parks ensuring availability of spaces. Revised tariff structures including the opportunity to park for up to three hours will afford residents and visitors increased time to dwell within the Town Centre and hopefully support the local economy and local businesses.”

Car parking is a continual hot potato of a subject in Wrexham, with frequent calls locally for free parking to be introduced in the town to help boost the number of shoppers and visitors.

However next week’s report states that: “Following the revision of car parking charges in April 2016, continued analysis of car park occupancy data has identified that a number of the town centre car parks are operating at or below the desired 85% occupancy levels, most notably during the working week.”

There is no mention of weekend occupancy, perhaps indicating that the car parks are more full during the week than on Saturdays and Sundays.

The report adds: “As with any destination of interest, there is a market demand for car parking that reflects what the public are prepared to pay for the services and opportunities provided.

“As such inflated parking charges can act as a deterrent, but unrealistically low prices can have a similar impact through increased traffic levels and reducing available parking spaces.”

If the changes are approved, the new parking prices would come into force from January 1st 2018.

The proposals will be go before the Executive Board at 10am on Tuesday 24th October. The meeting will also be webcast live on the Wrexham Council website.

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