Shropshire Star

Motions to reduced car park costs back on the table

A motion to drop the price of car park tickets to entice more people to visit Powys town centres is set to be debated at a council meeting later this week.

Berriew Street Car Park in Welshpool

Councillor Gareth E Jones of the Independents for Powys group had originally tabled a motion for discussion at a Powys County Council meeting in July.

But the motion was withdrawn following promises of a review of the issue were made by the ruling Liberal Democrat/Labour administration.

The motion has been brought back to the table for the meeting on Thursday, October 5, in the belief that a review of the process is going too slow.

The intention of the price hike when it was agreed as part of this year’s budget was to generate an extra £50,000.

Claims have been made ever since the budget for 2023/2024 was set in February, that car parking charges would have a detrimental impact on town centres and drive people away from shopping there.

Councillor Gareth E Jones - Powys County Council

Subsequent financial reports show that car parks will make much more money for the council than £50,000.

The current forecast is that the Highways Transport and Recycling department which has responsibility for car parking would make £392,000 this year.

The motion that Councillor Jones intends putting forward comes in two parts.

Firstly: “To reintroduce the up to one hour parking period into all the current designated long stay car parks run by the authority, which are currently subject to a parking charge, with effect from November 1.”

And secondly: “That the charge for up to one hour parking in the designated long stay car parks should be set at £1.40 in line with the charge for the same time period in the designated short stay car parks.”

Councillor Jones said “It our understanding that the working group will not be established and have its first meeting until later in October or even early November and probably not make its recommendations to the council/cabinet until the new financial year.

“This will result in the continuation of the current issues being experienced in many of our towns which we do not find acceptable.”

His motion is backed by the Independents for Powys group leader, Councillor Jeremy Pugh.

The financial assessment that comes with the motion said that if the changes were made the council would lose £230,000 a year and £96,000 from November 1 to March 31, 2024.

An amendment to this proposal will be put forward by Conservative councillors for debate.

Councillor Pete Lewington backed by Councillor Iain McIntosh want to see the second part of the motion deleted and replaced by their suggestion:

This is: “That the charge for up to one hour parking in both short stay and long stay car parks should be reintroduced at £1 with effect from November 1.”

The financial assessment on this proposal says that this would cost the council £301,000 a year and £125,000 from November 1 to March 31, 2024.

The problem is that other parts of the HTR department are predicted to overspend this year and the money made by car park fees would help cover that financial hole.

The financial assessment added that £99,000 of the “over-achievement” in income generation is expected to be offered as a: “contribution to support budget pressures for the 2024/25 budget.