CONTROVERSIAL plans to introduce car parking charges could “kill” a Flintshire town.
Traders in Shotton are claiming the proposals to introduce a 20p charge at all council-owned car parks across the county could be the final death knell for them.
Corinne Elliot, owner of Deeside Balloons and The Card Shop on Chester Road West, said it would be the end for Shotton.
“If they brought in parking charges it would kill the trade in Shotton,” she said.
“This would be the last nail in the coffin for Shotton – it would kill the town.
"I think we've got enough problems with traffic and shops going out of business.
“There are so many empty units now – we’ve lost I Do Weddings, Ethel Austin, the flower shop and Reids Rains and that’s just in the last year.
“I really think we’ve got a serious problem here. It’s a battle against the big businesses which offer free parking.”
Stephen Connolly, manager of Deeside Cycles on Chester Road East, which has a free car park nearby, added: “This would certainly not help us at all. In the winter time a lot of our customers tend to drive here rather than cycle.
"We will have to see how it goes, but I can see people will now start parking more in the side roads instead.”
The move would see charges introduced in Deeside, Flint and Buckley in a bid to save the council £29 million over the next three years.
Now Shotton Town Council has launched a campaign to fight the end of free parking.
Community leaders are calling for an urgent consultation with residents to gauge their thoughts.
Cllr Gary Cooper told a Shotton Town Council meeting: “They say it will just be 20p, but how long will that last?
“The council need to get their heads together and consult with the residents of Shotton.
“We need to let them know that we don’t support this or they will push this in through the back door.”
Town council chairman Cllr John Beard added: “This is a major issue that affects the people of this town and we have got to get it right for them.”
Cllr Elwyn Jones added: “We should not be charging for car parking on Shotton. The big supermarkets like Asda and Lidl don’t charge so I can’t see people paying to park in the town centre.”
An early draft of the three-year Flintshire Futures plan was leaked to the Leader in October and revealed nearly £10 million of savings were required from next year’s budget with further cuts expected over the following two years.
Motorists in Mold and Holywell already pay 20p to use council-owned car parks, but charges may rise to 50p if plans are pushed through.
Council chiefs say the plans are a work in progress and have not yet been formally approved.
Members of Shotton Town Council voted to write to Flintshire Council and ask for a survey of residents.
A spokesman for Flintshire Council was unavailable at the time of going to press.