Shropshire Star

'More can be done' to address Shrewsbury parking hikes despite backtrack on some

Business leaders in Shrewsbury say a council needs to do more to address concerns over controversial hikes to parking charges.

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

Shropshire Council last week announced plans to backtrack on some of its proposed increases in charges for the town – a move that has been welcomed by Shrewsbury Business Improvement District (BID).

But, the BID, which has campaigned against the plans since they were made public, said the changes do not go far enough.

It made the comments after consulting with its members following the publication of new plans – which will be considered for a decision by Shropshire Council's cabinet tomorrow.

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said that while the revised proposals were a step in the right direction, businesses remained concerned.

He said: “While we acknowledge the reduced price increase at Abbey Foregate (33 per cent rather than 67 per cent), the shift to a more reasonable £1 flat fee for evening parking between 6pm and 10pm, and the introduction of a one-hour parking fee cap on Sundays at Abbey Foregate and Frankwell, we believe more can be done to address the broader impact on our town’s businesses and workforce.

“Consistency across other key areas, particularly at Frankwell car park as the only other out-of-loop car park in Shrewsbury, is essential. Currently, the council plans to increase the hourly parking tariff at Frankwell car park by 50 per cent and is now proposing an increase at Raven Meadows of 20 per cent.

“In keeping with the council’s aim of reducing town-centre traffic, we believe that introducing a significant cost gap between Abbey Foregate car park (80p an hour) and Frankwell (£1.20) will encourage further cross-town journeys by those entering Shrewsbury from the west side.

“We have asked the council to apply the same 20p per hour increase at Frankwell as at Abbey Foregate car park to minimise cross-town car journeys and ensure fairness for those who work and live on Shrewsbury's west side.

“We also welcome the council’s willingness to consider a capped worker offer through the mipermit system and we look forward to discussing this further with the council shortly.”

“The introduction of a half-price offer on Park & Ride (£1 per return journey), alongside a timetabled service at the beginning and end of the day to accommodate early morning and evening workers, is a positive development.

“We believe it is vital that this initiative is launched and promoted well in advance of any parking tariff increases, and would encourage the council to implement a permanent price reduction to encourage a long-term behavioural shift to public transport.”

The council concessions include reductions to the hourly increase planned at Abbey Foregate, changes its proposed evening charges and Sunday plans, as well as an increase for Raven Meadows multi-storey.

The planned hike for season tickets at Abbey Foregate has also been reduced.

But, there has been no change to prices for Frankwell, where the hourly rate will still rise from 80 to £1.20, and the yearly permit will go up from £640 to £960.

The hourly charge at Abbey Foregate will rise from 60p to 80p – instead of £1 as originally proposed.

In terms of evening charges the council has actually added charges for both St Julians Friars and Abbey Foregate, which had not previously been proposed.

Under the latest proposal there will be a flat rate £1 charge for parking between 6pm and 10pm at Frankwell, Abbey Foregate, St Julians Friars, Bridge Street, St Austins Street, and The Quarry car parks – as well on-street in the town.

For Sundays there will be a charge of one hour maximum at car parks where there is currently no Sunday charge – originally the council had proposed to charge half the normal fee on Sundays.

The fee for Raven Meadows will increase from £2 an hour to £2.40 – to address what critics said was an inconsistency in the council's stated aim of trying to encourage people to park outside of Shrewsbury's river loop.

The size in the increase of the annual season ticket price for Abbey Foregate is also being cut. It will now go from £480 to £640, instead of up to £800 as originally planned.

Shrewsbury BID said it will also be requesting that the council undertakes a 'comprehensive review' of all town centre parking and related performance data six months after implementing the proposed increases.

It said the review will be 'critical' to assess the real-world impacts of the changes and determine if corrective action may be necessary.

Mr Slater added: “We appreciate the council’s intention to incorporate public consultation into this process and Shrewsbury BID remains committed to continuing our dialogue with Shropshire Council to ensure that any parking strategy genuinely supports the local business community.”