CONTROVERSIAL new parking charges have been given the go-ahead.
Despite strong public opposition, Flintshire Council’s cabinet yesterday approved plans for parking charges to be introduced.
Opponents have vowed to continue to fight the new policies and hope a compromise can be reached so free parking would be available on a short-term basis.
Some changes have been made to the proposed parking charges, forming part of a new civil parking enforcement policy, after the original plans were called in by council members.
But opponents remain unhappy about the plans, fearing they will have a negative impact on towns including Buckley and Holywell.
During the meeting, Flintshire Council chairman Cllr Aaron Shotton said the parking debate “is certainly an emotive issue”.
He added: “I’m pleased to see there is a principle of free parking towards the vicinity of health facilities and pharmacies in each of our towns.”
Cllr Shotton also said “historical inaccuracies” were being corrected, as previously there had been differences in the cost of resident parking permits in Mold and Holywell which would now be corrected.
Charges are due to come into force at car parks in Buckley and Flint, while they could also be created in Connah’s Quay where a proposal is being reviewed.
They would also remain in place in Mold and Holywell.
Cllr Bernie Attridge, deputy leader and lead member for environment, said petitions had been received from Holywell and Buckley residents about the proposed charges.
He said changes had been made to the original plans, including the Halkyn Street car park in Holywell remaining free to assist people accessing nearby healthcare facilities. Bistre Avenue car park in Buckley is also no longer earmarked for parking charges, while reviews will be conducted into planned charges at Somerfield, Connah’s Quay, and Swan Street, Flint.
Cllr Attridge told the meeting consideration had been given to scrapping all charges across the county, but this would have cost £200,000.
Speaking after the meeting, Buckley councillor Mike Peers said: “I don’t believe the calls we made at the call-in have been fully considered.
“The car park that would be free is not close to the existing health centre and pharmacy.
“We will continue to press the council to at least provide the first hour of parking free of charge at our car parks.”
Fellow Buckley councillor Arnold Woolley has echoed the views of concerned residents and traders about the potential impact of parking charges on Brunswick Road.
He said: “Broughton Shopping Park probably had more impact on Buckley [than elsewhere] when it was created.
“The last thing we need is trade in Buckley to be diminished.
“People who are convenience shopping or need medication should not be charged.”
Holywell councillor Peter Curtis is objecting to parking charges being raised from 20p for three hours to 20p per hour in the town.
“We sent a petition showing we did not want any parking charges in Holywell,” he said.
“But we then end up still having them and also having an increase in the parking charges here.
“These extra charges will not encourage people to come here. I am very unhappy.”