Shropshire Star

Controversial parking charge hike for Shropshire towns will be reconsidered by cabinet

Huge increases in car parking charges for Shrewsbury will be reconsidered by top councillors after a scrutiny committee backed a rethink.

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The council's parking charges have been met with significant criticism from Shrewsbury's business community

After nearly three hours of discussion Shropshire Council's Economy and Environment Overview Scrutiny Committee voted to ask cabinet members to reconsider the controversial plans – which include hikes of up to 67 per cent in the charges for some car parks.

The vote means the cabinet will be asked to look specifically at the decision to start charging from 6pm to 8pm, and on Sundays, as well as the 'higher charges' in Shrewsbury, and the banding for fees in Wem.

The meeting had earlier heard from Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID (Business Improvement District), warning that the plans could cost the town's economy up to £7m a year.

He also said that the BID had not been asked its opinion on the move.

The committee was examining the proposals after opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat groups said they should be 'called in' for scrutiny.

During the meeting Councillor Dan Morris, the authority's Conservative Cabinet Member in charge of Highways, admitted that the council's own estimates predict that 21,237 people would stop using Shrewsbury car parks because of the planned increases.

He said that 9,000 would be expected to transfer to park and ride, with the rest considering "alternative arrangements".

But opposing councillors highlighted that the park and ride needed investment to make it a viable alternative – and that its current price is actually more expensive than some stays at car parks.