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Drivers face hike in Shropshire car parking charges

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Transport | Published:

Drivers are facing a hike in parking charges under new Shropshire Council plans.

Following a 10-week public consultation last autumn, the local authority has now revealed its updated parking strategy.

Under the plans, on-street parking in Shrewsbury's town centre is set to rise more than 50 per cent, and new 'linear' hourly rates will be introduced for all of the council's car parks.

The linear pricing means people pay the same amount for each of the hours they park.

The strategy also reveals the council is moving ahead with controversial plans to charge for parking until 8pm instead of 6pm in Shrewsbury and Ludlow, but not in other market towns.

George Candler, the council's director of place and enterprise, said new machines and equipment needed to introduce the project would cost £917,000.

The money would be needed to replace parking machines, introduce barriers at Frankwell and Riverside car parks, and trial a check-in and check-out system to all Shrewsbury's off-street car parks.

The plans will be discussed by cabinet members at a meeting next Wednesday.

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Transport commissioner, Kevin Aitken, said the council has assessed all 2,486 responses to the consultation and has made a number of changes to the plans, including retaining a 'pop and shop' period, which had been under threat.

"People's parking habits will completely change if this is successful," he said. "We want one parking policy for the whole county. At the moment there are different charges for different places and it's confusing. This will make it a level playing field."

The strategy recommends introducing linear tariffs in all council car parks with a cap after eight hours on band four, five and six car parks, as well as Raven Meadows multi-storey in Shrewsbury.

Hourly rates for band two car parks - such as the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre, Bridge Street, St Austin's and Raven Meadows in Shrewsbury, and on-street Ludlow, will be charged at £1.80 per hour with no cap.

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Shrewsbury on-street parking is in band one and will be charged at £2.50 per hour - an increase of 56.25 per cent.

Mr Aitken said the strategy is also designed to help reduce pollution.

He said: "Shrewsbury in the river loop and Raven Meadows is the number one spot for carbon emissions so these are our target areas to reduce the levels.

"We're trying to promote parking outside of the loop and walking into town, but we also want to provide places to park within the loop on occasions when it's required."

Controversial plans to scrap the 15-minute popular 'pop and shop' period have also been amended.

But under the new plans shoppers will only be allowed to park for five minutes free of charge - in reality reducing the overall pop and shop time from 25 minutes to 15 minutes as regulations say no penalty can be issued until 10 minutes after the permitted parking period is over.

The report also proposes an extension of opening hours to Raven Meadows multi-storey. It would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Parking at Newport Road in Market Drayton, Gobowen railway station and Crown Hotel in Albrighton will remain free despite initial suggestions it would be charged at 30p an hour.

Main points of the new parking plan

  • The new policy would introduce what is called ‘linear pricing’ across the county, where people pay a set rate for each of the hours they park.
  • Under the plans all of the county’s car parks have been placed into one of seven different pricing bands ranging from £2.50 an hour to free.
  • The policy would mean it costs 70p per hour to park at Frankwell in Shrewsbury, with an eight-hour stay working out at £5.60.
  • The opening hours in Raven Meadows multi-storey car park in Shrewsbury will be extended 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The current ‘Pop and shop’ period of no charge will be reduced to five minutes from 15 minutes - in reality reducing the overall pop and shop time from 25 minutes to 15 minutes as regulations say no penalty can be issued until 10 minutes after the permitted parking period is over.
Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

News reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Oswestry office

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