Brunswick Road car park in Buckley
CONTROVERSIAL parking charges will be rolled out across Flintshire.
Councillors approved measures which will convert many free car parks into paid facilities in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Council leader Aaron Shotton said he recognised the issue was ‘clearly emotive’, but added: “We are in a difficult climate and any additional revenue the council can find is welcome and needed to protect the services we hold dear.”
Campaigners in Buckley and Holywell had urged officials to scrap the plan. Prior to the decision, many retailers in Buckley had signed a petition requesting a re-think on an issue they feel could kill off business.
Shops on Brunswick Road are worried their stocks will now plummet – although an amendment to the plan means the parking facility at Bistre Avenue will remain free due to the level of usage by surrounding residents with no access to private or free on-street parking.
Halkyn Street, Holywell, will also remain free due to the proximity of healthcare facilities.
Buckley councillors Mike Peers and Arnold Woolley, the former Flintshire County Council leader, said they were ‘very disappointed’.
Both are calling on the authority to look to introduce a scheme where the first hour is free.
“Convenience shoppers and people seeing their doctor or picking up prescriptions shouldn’t have to pay to park,” said Cllr Woolley, who was in charge of the previous administration when it decided to scrap plans to introduce the county-wide charges.
Both men say it is ‘an anomaly’ that there will be no charges in Shotton, and fear the move will hit Buckley hard.
Cllr Peers said: “We’re trying to attract a supermarket and maintain the viability of the town. I just hope the people of the Buckley remember what this administration did to the town.”
Gwernymynydd councillor Nancy Matthews also criticised the decision and expressed concerns that there will be a car park charge next to the town’s new medical centre.
She said: “Buckley already runs a type of civil parking enforcement and employs a traffic warden [paid £16,000 a year]. There is no parking on the roads in Buckley but the free car parks are very successful.”
Flintshire County Council feels the introduction of parking enforcement will result in improved safety for both pedestrians and drivers, support the local economy and benefit the environment.
Inconsistencies across the county were also cited as a reason for change. The merger of previous authorities, Delyn and Alyn and Deeside, resulted in a situation where the council charged for the use car parks in Mold and Holywell, whereas all of the others were free.
Flintshire County Council was unable to confirm when charges will be introduced in Buckley, Connah’s Quay and Flint.
Motorists will now pay 20p per hour for up to three hours or £2 all day, with free parking introduced after 3pm.
A full list of car parks affected can be found on the council’s website at www.flintshire.gov.uk.