Shropshire Star

'We know not everyone will welcome the proposals' – councillor comments on parking charge hikes

The councillor leading a move to increase parking charges in the county says he knows "not everyone will welcome proposals".

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Shropshire Council has approved its planned increases in parking charges.

Councillor Dan Morris, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for parking, made the comments after the authority's cabinet approved the controversial plans earlier this week.

Under the proposals there are rises in car parks across the Shropshire Council area – including Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Wem, Church Stretton, Market Drayton, Much Wenlock, Oswestry, and Whitchurch.

The move will also see the introduction of charges for Sunday parking, and parking from 6pm to 10pm.

The plans had met with severe criticism from the group which represents Shrewsbury's businesses – Shrewsbury BID, along with politicians, and particularly councillors in Wem.

The council agreed to make some changes – but stuck the majority of the increases.

Speaking following the decision to go ahead, which will now be subject to a consultation period, Councillor Morris said that the plans would allow for maintenance of the council's car parks – and would deter people from parking inside Shrewsbury's river loop.

He said: "Following feedback from the scrutiny committee, and from Shrewsbury BID, we reconsidered some of the original proposals and have agreed some changes which we feel address these comments, while allowing us to meet our original objectives.

“We know that not everyone will welcome proposals to increase parking charges, but we ask people to understand the reasons behind them.

“In Shrewsbury the primary objective is to encourage motorists to park outside the river loop or use other forms of transport – including cycling and walking – reducing the number of vehicles entering the town centre, helping to increase the number of spaces available for those who need them, and minimising emissions.

“In addition, our 83 car parks have not kept pace with maintenance requirements such as surfacing, lining, signing, drainage, boundaries, green assets and cleaning. The structure of our parking service and our parking strategy also need to be reviewed.”

The leader of Shropshire Council's Labour group, Councillor Julia Buckley, has called for the council to abandon the hikes, describing the plans for parts of Shrewsbury as "excessive".

She said: "There is no excuse for introducing price increases of ten to fifteen times the rate of inflation.

"Local residents are already hit with increased costs from all sides through the cost of living crisis such as increased mortgage costs, council tax increases, energy bills, possible green waste charges and now car parking cost increases of up to 50 per cent.

"The increases are excessive and disproportionate."

In Shrewsbury the council has said it intends to bring in a half-price park and ride promotion later this year – offering people a return journey into the town centre for just £1.