Evening parking charge scrapped for Shrewsbury and Ludlow
Controversial plans to charge for car parking in the evening in two towns have been officially abandoned by Shropshire Council after pressure from campaigners.
Cabinet members voted in January to extend the charging periods in Shrewsbury town centre, as well as Ludlow’s red zone on-street parking, from 6pm to 8pm, but the decision sparked uproar among businesses and led to protests in both towns.
Proposals relating to Ludlow and Shrewsbury’s Frankwell car park were scrapped in July, but the new charges still looked set to hit users of Shrewsbury’s on-street parking bays and car parks within the river loop.
After further opposition, cabinet members agreed to retain free parking after 6pm in all car parks at a meeting at Shirehall in Shrewsbury yesterday.
It came after a meeting with Shrewsbury BID, when the council was told the new fees would hit the town centre evening economy.
Fears were also raised that evening workers and visitors would feel unsafe walking between the town centre and Frankwell late in the evening.
Councillor Roger Evans, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said: “There are a lot of people, including vulnerable people, who were concerned and wrote in as part of the consultation that the new cut-off would make them feel unsafe.
“The police were also concerned about the implications and dangers people may face if the parking was changed from 6pm to 8pm.”
Cabinet members agreed to implement the decision made in July relating to Ludlow and Frankwell, and to go one step further and backtrack on the new evening charges entirely.
Councillor Steve Davenport, cabinet member for highways, said: “This is to help the night-time economy in both towns.”
The move was welcomed by campaigners who demonstrated against the proposals earlier in the summer.
Shrewsbury’s former mayor Jane Mackenzie said after the meeting: “When I was mayor last year I was busy opening shops and new independent businesses in the town.
“They were coming back to me saying, ‘we’re shutting down, we can’t renew our licence because of the parking increase’. I felt so guilty.
“But direct action can make a difference.”
Councillor Tony Parsons, who represents Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton, added: “We are delighted this decision has been made.”