MOTORISTS could pay £1 a day to park in Flintshire if controversial plans to end free parking are approved.

Flintshire Council could introduce the fee across all council-owned car parks in the county as it battles to save £29 million in the next three years.

Car parks in Mold and Holywell, where motorists currently pay 20p a day, would also charge the new £1 fee.

Buckley councillor Ron Hampson said: “The biggest thing Buckley has got going for it is its free parking, so take that away and we’re in trouble.

“We are already competing for trade from the likes of Broughton Retail Park and Asda in Queensferry so start charging people and they will go elsewhere.”

Connah’s Quay councillor Bernie Attridge said he would fight “tooth and nail” to prevent the charges.

He said: “£1 doesn’t sound like a lot of money but with the price of petrol going up too, it will cost a fortune to run your car. If people can park for free in the large supermarkets then there is no way they will pay to park elsewhere. I am completely against this and will fight it until the end.”

Council chiefs stress the plans are a work in progress and have not yet been formally approved. They will continue to consider the policy ahead of the 2011/12 budget to be set in February.

Carl Longland, director of environment, said: “The council’s current policy regarding car park charges is inconsistent in that charges only currently exist in Mold and Holywell.

“The proposal being considered is to introduce charges at the rate of £1 per day and 20p for up to one hour in all the viable car parks in the county's towns.

“These charges would be comparatively low in North Wales and compare favourably with charges levied by neighbouring authorities.

“The charges are considered to be affordable and it is not considered that this level of charge will negatively impact upon the economic vitality of towns within the county.”