Car parking and council tax charges to increase in Oswestry

Residents in Oswestry will soon be paying more to park in the town as well as a higher rate of council tax after changes were approved.

Oswestry residents are facing an increase in their council tax bill
Oswestry residents are facing an increase in their council tax bill

Households will see a four per cent increase in the local element of the council tax in April after members of the town council agreed the move for the 2022/23 budget.

The changes mean ratepayers will see an increase in their annual bills from £80.42 to £83.65 for a band D property.

As well as a precept hike, councillors also signed off the first increase in car parking charges in 10 years and increases in fees and charges.

Motorists parking for up to one hour in the Central, Horsemarket and Smithfield Street car parks will have to pay £1 from April, up from the current charge of 50p.

The cost for up to two hours will rise to £1.50, up from £1, 70p and 80p respectively under the current charges. The fees for other time limits will remain the same, as will the flat £1 rate for Sundays and bank holidays.

The precept will raise £448,000 towards the council’s budget for next year – £21,000 more than in 2021/22. Parking charges are expected to bring in £783,000.

Councillor Duncan Kerr, chair of the finance committee, said: “Nobody wants to increase the precept, but a four per cent increase when the inflation rate is hovering around there or higher I think represents value for money, when you consider all the things that we do.

“People I talk to in the town are quite amazed at the things the town council does.

“I do think we deliver value for money and I think this budget will enable us to continue to do that and continue to make a significant difference for families in Oswestry.”

Councillor Frank Davis suggested freezing the precept in recognition of the financial hardship many residents would be facing.

He said: “Energy bills are going to go soaring. A lot of people are really going to be struggling, especially into next winter, with gas and electricity bills.

“I just wondered if we went zero this year I’m sure there are enough funds there that we could ride not having £21,000, and I think that would be a great thing for the people of Oswestry.

“We should ask ourselves, ‘do we really need that £21,000?’ We have got money in reserves.”

However Councillor Kerr said the move would mean having to make cuts from the budget, adding that raising the precept by a small amount each year was preferable to freezing it and then having to impose more significant increases in future.

Councillor Mike Isherwood added: “I think it does represent good value for money, given that the council’s programme of things that we are planning to do over the next 12 months or so will have a huge impact on the town.

“I think it’s a really exciting programme of improvements that we are planning on making, investments in youth services and infrastructure etcetera, so I think the modest increase that we are proposing I’m willing to support.”

The budget, including the precept and car park charges, was passed with nine votes four, four against and one abstention.

Projects to be funded in next year’s budget include an extra £17,000 for youth services, £25,000 for sustainable transport and £20,000 for a new music event.

It is also proposed to offer free bus travel in the run-up to Christmas which was introduced last year, set aside £15,000 towards a free rickshaw service and allocate £10,000 for tidying up neglected areas of the town by tackling graffiti, litter and dog fouling.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News