15 minutes of free parking in bid to boost Shropshire high streets

Motorists are to get 15 minutes free parking in an attempt to boost trade in Shropshire’s high streets.

Parking meter

Shropshire Council is introducing the measure at its car parks and on-street parking bays from Monday.

Council leader Keith Barrow said the aim of the move was to encourage drivers to visit their town centre without parking charges.

The move was welcomed by business leaders – who hope the grace period may be extended.

Richard Sheehan, managing director of the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a very positive action. There is no doubt people do avoid that little trip into town when confronted with a parking charge.

“It will boost the volume of people on the high street. It is a good initiative. We would like it to be half-an-hour rather than 15 minutes, but it is a start and it is better than nothing.

“Hopefully, it will persuade the council to extend it to 30 minutes.”

The plan was also welcomed by John Hall, from Shrewsbury’s Shop in the Loop group.

He said: “It is a very significant step in the right direction. Anything is welcome. It would be churlish not to welcome it.”

Councillor Barrow said: “High streets up and down the country are under pressure and parking charges have been a bone of contention for some time now. As a council we are determined to do everything we can to encourage people to visit town centres and use their local shops.

“By giving a grace period of 15 minutes, I hope we will make it easier for those people who just want to pop into town for a short time to run an errand or visit a particular shop.”

The 15-minute grace period will apply to designated pay and display car parking bays at all council-owned surface car parks across the county, apart from those which already have a free period of parking and on-street pay and display parking bays.

It will not operate in the Raven Meadows multi-storey car park in Shrewsbury, as drivers have to pay when leaving. It also does not include restricted parking areas, like loading bays and double-yellow lines. Parking is not allowed in disabled bays without a blue badge.

Motorists in Oswestry have been warned they will be penalised for parking in the three main car parks in the town without getting a pay and display ticket. The car parks are owned and managed by Oswestry Town Council, not the unitary authority.

David Preston, clerk to the council, said the council would debate the car parking charges, but currently there was no 15-minute free parking in the Central Car Park, the Smithfield Road car park or the Horsemarket car park. Shropshire Council is responsible for the Oak Street, Festival Square and Oswald Road car parks.

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Comments for: "15 minutes of free parking in bid to boost Shropshire high streets"

Andrew finch

Ahhhhh at last a positive decision .

Len P

On holiday in MAjorca looking forward to being able to shop in market first thing in the morning again .

Parker (M'Lady)

Wow, - 15 Minutes free, that's generous!

By the time you have found a car park with spaces, or "on street" space, locked the car up walked to the shop or shops you quickly want to visit, queued, paid, left the shop and returned to your car, your 15 minutes has more than likely expired, and a warden is gleefully ticketing you.

Thinking about it though, how are they going to check the "free 15 minutes". This means that wardens will have to check every car on a car park, or on the street. If it has a parking ticket on it (pay and display), then the person is obviously staying for the permitted number of hours, if there is no ticket, then is it staying for 15 mins, and if so how long has it been there?? I suppose if there is no ticket it make a note of the number plate and return 15 mins later, if car still there with no ticket, then "book it".

Oswestry looks a nightmare for the motorist who doesn't know the Town though - currently there was no 15-minute free parking in the Central Car Park, the Smithfield Road car park or the Horsemarket car park. Shropshire Council is responsible for the Oak Street, Festival Square and Oswald Road car parks.


Big deal thanks a million.

The 'Owd Monner

Oh for goodness sake! 15 minutes, time to queue for a coffee, no time to drink it of course. What is it with local government that everyone is so frightened to admit they were wrong. Ladies and Gentlemen of the council, it was a bad call, an oversight, an error of judgement and a ballsup. Now for goodness sake put your ego's behind you and work to save the commercial heart of the town that we have entrusted to you. Get a grip and perform

tony c

Wow 15 mins. Thats not going to entice me whatsoever. Because of the parking costs I only go uptown maybr 2 or 3 times a year whereas the out of town centres with free parking, gets my custom every weekend


How generous is that ?

H. St. John Peasbody

"Council leader Keith Barrow said the aim of the move was to encourage drivers to visit their town centre without parking charges."

15 minutes of free parking will not achieve this!

Anyway, surely public transport should be championed as a means of visiting town centres?

Peter Parker

This is a transparent, woeful and badly thought out attempt to win favour while still sitting on the fence. From the motorist's point of view what can really be done in 15 minutes? In many place around the towns people can stop for ten minutes anyway without incurring the wrath of the dreaded parking wardens.

From a practical point of view this seems unworkable. Unless Keith is intending to hire an army of new parking wardens to monitor exactly when each car arrives - a task so time consuming and laborious that they won't be able to fulfill their main duties - people will quickly see they can take great liberties and get away with half an hour or more and clog our streets with badly parked cars. Is it really that necessary to be able to park as close as possible to where you are going, in an age of congested roads and an obesity crisis? Have the pay and display machines been given a new button for a 'free 15' ticket? Will people paying for longer stays get a bonus extra 15 minutes grace too? I guess not - this is a useless idea and seems an embarrassingly obvious attempt to quickly win favour after re-election.


Good decision regardless of the above comments.................if they'd announced 30 mins free you get the feeling that some people would be asking why the hell can't it be an hour? Perfect for a quick visit to the bank counter or for a particular shop. Just need to get rid of the chuggers on Pride Hill now - if you get collared by one of those then you would need an hours parking...........


'It will boost the volume of people on the high street' - NO. It will boost the volume of traffic.

Don't these people have legs?


Only very poorly developed ones that can barely hold their bulk off the steering wheels.


As a matter of interest do Councillors have free parking passes for all Council run car parks?


whoever came up with this idea on there fat wage packet needs sacking


Not very clear. Any one know does this include Lulow if so which part as not all car parks are council run.

Steve Jones

Surely this is an admission by the Council that Parking Charges are seriously damaging our town centre shops but they'd haven't got the courage to scrap them. Every 'out of town' retail park and supermarket offers free parking so why is the small High Street trader burdened with this uncompetitive millstone. Parking charges are contributing to the decline of the 'High Street', whose effects are heightened when household budgets are squeezed.

Long suffering unhappy retailer Market Drayton

Totally agree. Why not at least trial 30 minutes free parking to give the small independent High Street retailers a chance of survival. Grants to new shops are all very well but it will be public money wasted if customers continue to shop at the out of town retail parks and supermarkets with free parking.

Morceau Placard

15mins to get to a shop/bank to get change to feed the damn beast so that you can pay for time to get on with your 1 hr shopping etc

Long suffering unhappy retailer Market Drayton

Health and Safety Alert! Will need to set up pedestrian speed limits around the towns as shoppers race from car parks to shop!

Come on please get real, not everyone just wants to pick up a newspaper. It is good that finally Councillors have accepted what we have been telling them for years that parking charges are killing our towns. Please have a rethink and make this 30 minutes free parking. Then you may just persuade the "free parking out of town shoppers" to check out what towns like Market Drayton have to offer. Just think you could be credited with helping revitalize our fantastic Shropshire towns.


I agree MD has some great shops. Just have to sift them out from the plethora of charity, gambling, empty and take-away food shops. I would like to see the council offer far more incentive's, other than parking, to assist more retailers come back to high street.

f f P

I bet the shop owners will be recruiting as I text. Look at all of the additional customers that' ll be drawn to the towns......? One word, pathetic.

Does mr barrow think that he can pass this off as sweetner, a compromise? Does he think we're ALL stupid!!! Increase P&R scheme, that truly does work.

Robert Tressell

I anticipate lots of hovering traffic wardens just itching for that 14th minute to pass so they can pounce. Unless it involves a timed ticket as proof, they might not even wait that long.

James Wrigley

Wow, a free whole 15 minutes is Keith Barrow writing material for a comedy club!!!

Big El

Shame some of the energy spent here wasn't spent on walking a bit further and indulging in that British special exercise - whining. Don't get a heart problem from trying to park IN the shops!

Lee mccluskey

What a great idea from the council, being a business owner in Shrewsbury for the last 15 years i have great respect and admoration for a town council who have genuine care and concern for not only the town but also the hard working business operators within the the town. .... No, i just woke up from a dream, yet again the council have absolutety no idea what is required to revive the town and as it stands the downfall is on their shoulders.

If business rates were paid to the local council and not to the central goverment, then the local council would be more interested in trying to negociate rates, fill the shops and create a better parking scheme. As this is not the case the council only seem to be interested in charging the few shoppers that dare venture into the clutches of the venemous wardens, who suck the the last spending pennies from your wallet.

Good luck to all that may venture into Shrewsbury, aka tax man.

Lee McCluskey

bit grumpy

ha ha ha that's all I can say, what can you buy in 15mins???