Wrexham Council set to reintroduce parking charges at its city centre car parks
Parking charges are set to be reintroduced at city centre car parks operated by Wrexham Council.
Since October 2020 visitors have been able to park for free after 11am at Waterworld, Market Street, St Giles, Crescent Road, the Library and Crescent Road car parks.
The initiative was introduced by the council’s Independent and Conservative administration to support key workers and city centre businesses both during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
However from April 2024 charges will be reintroduced at car parks owned by the local authority.
It comes as Wrexham Council looks to plug a funding gap and also to deter workers from parking for free all day throughout the week.
A report due before the executive board on Tuesday (December 12) states that whilst many city centre car parks are operating at or above the desired 85 per cent occupancy, “initial analysis and anecdotal evidence indicate a significant proportion of ‘parkers’ in city centre car parks, are parking to attend their place of employment.”
As a result senior councillors are being asked to introduce the below parking charges at its car parks – excluding Ty Pawb.
At a media brief earlier this week Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, said: “We’ve tried to roll out a flexible car parking scheme that everybody can take advantage of.
“I think what we have done in the past is to be commended.
“We’ve worked extremely hard as a council in supporting businesses across Wrexham during covid and after covid.
“I think we all knew that we’d have to revisit it, which we have.
“I think the costings and tariffs are fair.”
Cllr Pritchard added: ” It’s all about managing the car parks
“We’ve had lots of complaints from people coming to Wrexham who want to spend some money who can’t find any car parking.
“That’s because people were paying £1.80 and stopping there all day, which was disappointing because we did that purposely to encourage people to come in.
“Would we have liked to have continued giving away free car parking? Of course we would have, but we always knew it would come to an end.”
Asked whether the reintroduction of car parking charges is penalising city centre workers, Cllr Pritchard said: “There’s only so much car parking.
“What was happening was people who do work for this authority and who do work in the town couldn’t get car parking spaces because people would come in during the morning, pay £1.80 and leave it there all day.
“I come into the Guildhall everyday and there are vehicles parked for 24 hours, two days, three days continuously.
“It wasn’t what it was set up for. Unfortunately people were taking advantage of it.
“We’re hoping this will give everyone the opportunity to get a car parking space.”
Wrexham Council is also considering installing barriers at the entrance and exit to some city centre car parks in a bid to make it easier for shoppers and visitors to pay for the parking they have used.
Work exploring which car parks could benefit from the barriers will begin in the new year.
Cllr Pritchard said: “With regards to looking at options of barriers it might be that comes back that there’s no reason or requirement for barriers.
“But we’re looking at every opportunity to see how we can manage the car parking.
“Unfortunately – and I’m surprised and contacted by a lot of people – who continually get tickets.
“We don’t want to issue tickets, we want people to come to Wrexham and spend the money in the shops and the businesses.
“Just check your tickets and make sure you don’t go over the hours you’re here.
“I’d rather you spend the money in the shops than a parking fine.”
With on street parking a major for residents who live around the city centre, we asked Cllr Pritchard if the charges could worsen an existing issue.
The council leader said: “Some people will go to the ultimate length to try not to pay for a car parking space.
“If they park on side streets etc there are traffic regulation orders on those side streets and they will be picked up.”
He added: “I think this is a fairly balanced report. It’s not excessive and we have worked hard to try and keep it down.
“We’re in tough times, we could have easily increased this a lot more because people know how difficult it is for local authorities.
“We’ve got a balanced approach, we’ve got a fair approach and I think what we’re looking to introduce is fair.”
The report to reintroduce car parking fees in council owned car parks will be considered by the executive board on Tuesday 12 December.
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