“You’re parking up the wrong tree” that was the unanimous message given to Wrexham Council during a heated consultation meeting held to discuss their controversial parking charge proposals.
Last Thursday’s meeting was attended by over 70 residents and business owners and not one spoke out in favour of the measures.
The proposals would see charges introduced on free parking bays in Wrexham town centre at a rate of 50p for 30 minutes and £1 per hour.
Many business owners voiced their fears that the charges would result in a heavy loss of trade.
Alex Jones, who owns The Bank bar on High Street branded them “a shopping tax” and warned that it would be local business owners who would suffer as a consequence.
An employee at Nightingale House Hospice’s charity shop on Brook Street, where charges would be introduced under the proposals, said that there was a big concern over how much passing trade the shop would lose.
Addressing councillors, one lady who has recently set up a business in Bank Street said: “The town is desperately trying to turn itself around and I don’t think you are helping at all.”
Council representatives claimed that enforcing the half hour parking restriction was currently a major issue with the free bays, which despite representing less than 1% of council owned parking account for 8% of the 471 fixed penalty notices issued last year.
However, confusion was caused by errors on a map of parking sites handed out at the meeting, local business owner Haydn Taylor remarked “‘It does not instil confidence in the council.”
An alternative revenue source suggested by a member of the public was to open the Guild Hall car park to members of the public on weekdays.
During an impassioned closing speech Lesley Taylor, who owns several properties in the town centre, handed over a petition to the council.
She said “I have gathered a petition with 181 signatures from both small and large business owners in the town, on it there are only 2 in favour of these charges. I hope the council will listen.”
Council Leader Ron Davies promised that the council would take into account all views received during the consultation process before the proposals are put to the executive board in September.
Consultation on the parking charge proposals will close on July 15 and anyone wishing to put forward their views is asked to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org