TRADERS fear a town centre could be “killed off” if controversial new parking charges are brought in.
Petitions have been launched in Buckley as independent retailers and charity shops step up their fight against parking charges at four car parks in the town.
One of the car parks that may no longer be free is on Brunswick Road in the town centre, with traders fearing customers could be driven away if charges are introduced.
Charity shops on Brunswick Road are worried their stocks could plummet and businesses anticipate losing out.
Their concerns are shared by residents and shoppers, with many having signed petitions to illustrate their support for the traders.
Marjorie Hill, manager of Claire House Children’s Hospice charity shop, said her shop is in a pedestrianised zone and people need to park in the nearby car park to drop items off at the shop.
She said: “We are very worried about this. We get a lot of people parking in the car park and then nipping across to drop stuff in.
“I would say about 50 per cent of our stock comes in like this.
“People will not pay to park just to bring clothes to a charity shop.
“We are going to be badly hit and I would urge them to rethink their plans.”
Carol Jones, owner of Stems Florists, is also worried about what could happen.
She said: “This is going to do a lot of damage, I fear it could kill our town centre.
“If there are parking charges then I am worried people simply will not choose to park here.
“I am Buckley born and bred and I never want to see this happen.”
Linda Collins, manager of the Greetings Card Shop, said customers have been signing a petition in her shop.
She said: “People are already signing it.
“We fear this will be bad news. People may not come here, they may go to Broughton instead.”
Jim Cooper, from Right Price Carpets, said: “I am totally opposed to this.
“Free parking is one of the advantages we have had but I really fear this could drive people away.
“I fear for how my business will be affected and how the town will be hit.”
Traders intend to hand the petitions into Flintshire Council.
Under proposals being looked at by the local authority, parking charges could be introduced at council-run car parks in Buckley, Connah’s Quay and Flint.
Charges are already in place in Mold and Holywell.
Under the plans, motorists would pay 20p per hour for up to three hours or £2 all day, with free parking introduced after 3pm.
Several Buckley councillors called-in the proposed new parking measures at a council scrutiny committee meeting last month.
Cllr Richard Jones told the Leader he fears shoppers may go to out of town shopping centres such as the Shopping Park in Broughton, the Greyhound Retail Park in Chester, or Cheshire Oaks.
The issue is due to go back to Flintshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, February 19.