A DECISION to increase car parking charges as much as 100 per cent will turn Wrexham into a “ghost town”, a councillor has predicted.
Wrexham Council’s executive board members yesterday voted 6-3 in favour of increasing parking charges across the town.
The car parks involved include the library, Market Street, St George’s Crescent, St Giles, Waterworld, People’s Market and Crescent Road.
Free parking at the People’s Market and Crescent Road car parks – now available from noon – will move to the later time of 3pm, similar to the ‘Free After Three’ parking deals in Chester and Ellesmere Port.
At the library, operational seven days a week, the changes involve a stay of up to one hour increasing from 60p to £1; a stay between one hour and two hours rising from £1.20 to £1.50; while the evening charge would rise from 50p to £1.
Rhosddu Road car park is currently classified as no charge for disabled people only and that arrangement will not be altered.
The changes also give motorists the opportunity to pay for parking in one car park and be able to use their ticket at another car park across Wrexham during the valid time period.
However, Cllr David Bithell said pay and display tickets purchased at either the People’s Market or Crescent Road car parks were not transferable.
“I have to say I think the plans are slightly misleading for car park users across Wrexham,” he said.
“When we brought in the Free after Midday initiative, it was hailed across the country as being innovative but by moving to a Free after Three system I don’t think we are doing ourselves any favours.”
Cllr Joan Lowe told members: “This is going to be the final nail in Wrexham’s coffin if you ask me and it will turn into a ghost town.
“We are cutting out a major group of people who come in and use the town, namely those who come and do their shopping while their children are still at school.
Cllr Bob Dutton, who compiled the report into the changes, said: “Traders may not be happy with it but in reality Wrexham’s car parking charges are remaining favourable compared to Chester and Shrewsbury.
“There was a need for us to be more competitive and I strongly disagree that these changes will turn Wrexham into a ghost town.”