A SO-CALLED “shopping tax” will severely threaten the future of Wrexham.

That was the heartfelt message handed to the council at a consultation meeting last night to discuss proposals to introduce car parking charges to on-street bays in the town centre.

Countless small and large business owners spoke of their fear for the future of their livelihoods and the town as a whole if the charges – 50p for 30 minutes and £1 per hour – are given the green light.

They warned the charges would be a heavy blow to the economy and the future of the town and Lesley Taylor, who leases a number of properties to small businesses on Brook Street, presented the results of an independent consultation which, she said, contained 181 signatures from small and large businesses opposed to the move. Only two participants were said to be in favour.

Kevin Critchley, manager of Eagles Meadow, warned: “If these proposals go ahead the town of Wrexham will have a negative perception as ‘the place that’s after your money’.

“It will simply drive custom away.”

Alex Jones, owner of The Bank bar on High Street said: “The Wrexham Shopping Tax - that’s what they are calling it.

And Marlene Roberts, of F. Jones Fish Merchants, St George’s Crescent, added:
“We are really struggling and we need your help to make our businesses viable.

“I think the far-reaching effects of this proposal are being dangerously underestimated.

“The town is made of businesses, without them it’s void.”

But Cllr Ron Davies, leader of the council who chaired the meeting, said no decision had yet been made and the council was listening carefully to every concern.

The consultation process will close on July 15 and the proposal will go to the council’s executive board in September.