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Flintshire county council scraps car park charges across county

A SURPRISE U-turn will see parking charges scrapped across Flintshire.

Controversial proposals to increase parking charges in Mold and Holywell to £1 a day or 50p an hour were unexpectedly scrapped last week following fierce protests from community leaders.

Plans to introduce 20p-an-hour charges at all council-owned car parks elsewhere in the county, which are currently free, were also ditched.

And, in another boost for drivers and town centre traders, deputy council leader Cllr Tony Sharps said car park in Mold and Holywell will soon be made free.

Councillors warned the plans would ‘kill’ already-struggling town centres filled with empty shops and Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant set up a petition against the move, which attracted more than 300 signatures.

Mold and Buckley town councils voted unanimously against increasing car parking fees.

Concerned traders in Shotton spoke of their relief about the decision.

Corinne Elliot, owner of Deeside Balloons and The Card Shop on Chester Road West, said: “It is the best news that any of us could have had.

“We are all struggling in this area and I think it would have been the last straw. We have lost a lot of business in the past year alone, and if they had gone ahead it would have been the end for us.”

The plans were put forward as part of the council’s attempt to save £12m in the next financial year and a total of £29m in the next three years.

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge said: “I think the council has gone back on its plans because of the huge amount of pressure it has faced from traders,” he said.

“Bringing the charges in would have signed the death warrant for our town centres, especially in Deeside and Flint where parking is free.”

Mayor of Holywell Peter Curtis called for the charges to be removed now.

He said: “I’m pleased with the news, but the council has said it could take several months to get rid of the charges when they could do it overnight.

“Holywell has had parking charges since 1992 and to have to wait months for them to be taken away adds insult to injury.”

Connah’s Quay Cllr Aaron Shotton added: “We expected the council to go back on its decision, but not this quickly. It was clearly a very unpopular proposal and we are very pleased.

“But the council now has an additional £300,000 in its financial black hole and savings need to be identified.”