CAMPAIGNERS have issued an eleventh hour plea to scrap plans to introduce parking charges.
Flintshire Council’s cabinet will today discuss plans to introduce new charges in the county.
Charges already exist at council-run car parks in Mold and Holywell but now look set to be rolled out further.
Much of the opposition against the proposals is in Buckley, where traders and community leaders are up in arms about potential charges in three car parks.
They fear their town centre could be badly hit if car parks have parking charges in place, particularly at the Brunswick Road car park in the town centre.
Buckley councillor Richard Jones yesterday handed over petitions containing hundreds of signatures urging the authority not to introduce the charges.
He said: “I would urge Flintshire Council not to go ahead with this.
“I am very concerned for our town centres, not just in Buckley. Parking charges could stop people parking here and they could go to out of town shopping centres.”
One trader speaking against the proposals is Gary Aimes, owner of Greetings Card Shop in Buckley town centre.
He said: “I’m very, very concerned about this and quite disgusted about it.
“I feel this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, it could impact on a lot of businesses.”
Plans for new car parking charges were previously called in by Buckley councillors on Flintshire Council and have been brought back to cabinet after a review.
In a change from the original proposals, charges are no longer proposed for Bistre Avenue, Buckley.
However, Cllr Ron Hampson joined residents yesterday to convey the opposition felt to all parking charges.
He said: “We don’t want any parking charges in the town.
“The residents fear if there are parking charges elsewhere, people may come and park here and that may stop them parking near their own homes.”
The authority has also scrapped plans for parking charges in Halkyn Street, Holywell.
Plans to charge at the car parks at Somerfield in Connah’s Quay and Swan Street in Flint are due to be revisited to take into account the closure of the supermarket and the nearby council offices.
Cllr Bernie Attridge, deputy leader of Flintshire Council, said: “I would love to scrap
car parking charges as promised by the previous administration but it’s just not possible with the amount of money the council needs.
“We are not charging for the car park next to the hospital in Holywell because at the end of the day people need access to healthcare.
“We are not charging for Bistre Avenue in Buckley either because of the number of residents that use it.”
Last year the authority collected £171,910.41 from charging motorists to park in Holywell and Mold.
Fines totted up another £15,332.08 from those who did not display a ticket, parked over the lines or used disabled bays without a badge.
The council has not reviewed its level of charges for 18 years and says it needs to start charging in other towns to address inconsistencies.