An idea to encourage people to park and use shops in the town centre was fleshed out further at the Town Centre Forum meeting yesterday.
The concept is one that is used around the country and involves a parking ticket fee being fully or partially reimbursed if someone uses a shop or service that has opted into the scheme.
As we reported last month the idea was first raised as a reaction to ‘outrageous’ increases in car park charges due in the new year.
The meeting was told by one member who provided half a dozen examples of areas around the country where similar schemes run: “I don’t know about success rates, but local businesses in the areas I have researched support the idea and refund the full ticket prices.
“The big stores have taken the idea on board, it is both the nationals and independents who benefit.”
Wrexham Council representatives did mention that there could be added costs to implement such a scheme, for example signage, printing and machine modifications. One figure given was in the region of £7,000 to adapt council car park machinery, with an overall figure of £13,000 incorporating extra printing and paper costs.
One local bar owner said it was a ‘damn good idea’, and would be more than happy to reimburse a couple of pounds on a parking ticket price if it encouraged people to have a meal or more at his venue. Jokingly, he did point out he might draw the line at reimbursing the Vinci car park tickets at Eagles Meadow due to the cost.
More seriously it was suggested a meeting could occur with stakeholders such as the council, Vinci and NCP plus others who may operate car parks in the town. Interestingly Mr Critchley, the Town Centre Forum chairman pointed out that communication with Vinci was not always easy, as we have found when we have attempted to find out more about some poor service reports we have received.
After the meeting one person did say they were ‘amazed’ at the ‘negativity’ shown towards the idea by the Council, and equated costs stated to the recent £525,000 that appears to have been spent on digital parking signage around the town.
Further firm detail is due to be provided at the next meeting in terms of costings and how best to explore the idea.