Proposals from the car parking review group which met in October has been considered by council staff.
At a meeting of the economy, residents, communities and governance scrutiny committee on Thursday, November 19, environment portfolio holder Councillor Heulwen Hulme, said: “We need to do a much wider review of car park provision.”
She said that car park capacity and usage needed to be looked at, as well as “mothballing” or finding a new use for some car parks.
The cabinet member added that there were also some car parks which didn’t charge a fee, and overnight parking for lorries or motor homes also needed to be thought about.
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Councillor Hulme said the review also needs to factor in street parking in towns as there was a recommendation for resident parking permits and the use of car parks has changed because of the number of people working from home.
She added that any trials for potential changes would need to be done once the pandemic is over.
Councillor Hulme said: “The service needs a clear picture of what the future norm will be.
“I have asked the service to, excuse the pun, park this, and bring it back on to the agenda by the end of the financial year.
“Hopefully by then we will have a better picture of where we are with Covid-19.”
Committee Chairman, Councillor Dorrance pressed for greater clarity of the timescale, and asked when “firm proposals” be brought forward for councillors to look at?
Councillor Hulme answered: “Even by the end of March we’re not going to know where we are with Covid-19, I’m happy to keep it on the agenda so that it remains a live working programme.”
Councillor Jeremy Pugh said: “People are parking all over towns in different places.
“We have lots of car parks that are empty, why can’t we provide a service?
“We’re promoting our high streets on the web, but we’re doing nothing really to support them.
“Free car parking at strategic times would make a massive difference to businesses.
“It’s time for action not excuses.”
Councillor Dorrance added: “I think this shows we’re keen to scrutinise any proposals that are brought forward.”
During the summer school holidays, from mid-July to the end of August, two hours free parking was given to encourage people to shop in Powys towns.
In 2019/20 car parking charges made £1.5 million for the county council, and had been expected to generate to £1.7 million this year.
The Welsh Government has given the council over £1 million to cover loss of income from car parking charges from April to June of this year.