FREE parking could return to Buckley as the town council looks at covering the costs.

At this month’s Buckley Town Council meeting members will vote on whether to pay Flintshire Council the £36,000 it would cost to keep the town’s car parks free of charge as part of their draft budget for 2018-19.

The authority controversially introduced parking charges at 38 sites across the county in 2015 to plug an £18 million budget hole that year.

But the move has not proved popular and with Buckley Town Council looking at ways to regenerate the high street, bringing back free parking is one initiative some members feel will help.

Currently, parking in the car parks at Precinct Way, Argoed Road and Bistre Avenue costs 20p for up to two hours, 50p for up to four hours and £1 all day from Monday to Saturday.

The Black Horse car park costs 20p for up to two hours, as does the one at Brunswick Road.

Buckley Bistre East county councillor Richard Jones has been crunching the numbers with Streetscene and arrived at a figure the council can pay to cover the cost of making those car parks free again.

Cllr Jones said: “It’s bit of a chicken and egg scenario.

“There needs to be a decent amount of footfall to sustain a good offer in the town.

“I’ve been talking to Streetscene since June, as most councillors in Buckley will tell you when we were out canvassing this was one of the big issues people were disappointed with.

“It might only be 20p but it’s an inconvenience for people having to root around for, or go and get, the correct change.

“I asked the council what the total gross is, and we got down to the net figure which is about £41,000, as they won’t need people to collect the money but there will still be electricity costs and so on.

“We already cover the cost of free parking in December which is £5,600 so that figure has come down to around £36,000.

“There are 7,334 properties in Buckley so it would work out at £4.90 per household, or about 9p a week per household to ensure they have free parking going into town.”

Cllr Jones added that with the support of businesses in town keen to see free parking reinstated, even those figures could be reduced.

“Businesses are willing to support us financially to a degree so that figure could come down,” he added.

“We’ve agreed as a group of independent councillors that this is definitely worthy of inclusion in the budget and we are hopeful of getting full backing.

“The aim is to get value for money for the people of Buckley, show we are willing and show we are open for business. We have got to fight for our town.”

Buckley Town Council will vote on the proposal at their meeting tomorrow night.