Angry traders to lobby councillors over parking fees

Reporter:

Phil Robinson and Rebecca Cole

HUNDREDS of traders have signed a petition and many are set to lobby councillors in their fight against controversial parking charges.

Business leaders say plans to introduce charges for on-street parking bays would be “completely detrimental” to the town centre and they will be out in force lobbying councillors ahead of a crunch meeting at the Guildhall tomorrow.

Four council members – former council leader Bob Dutton, Neil Rogers, Mark Pritchard and Mike Williams – have already put down a motion for tomorrow’s meeting of the executive board demanding the scheme is scrapped.

And if they are successful, it is believed that they will move on to propose a ‘free Wednesdays’ scheme - waiving charges on council-run car parks each Wednesday – in a bid to boost trade.

Cllr Dutton said: “It might be a possibility. This has not been formally considered by the executive board but it is something the board could consider in the future. The implications of such a scheme would have to be put forward for discussion.”

Cllr Pritchard, added: “I am expecting at least 30 traders from the town centre to be there.

“I know the traders have a petition with hundreds of signatures against it and I’ve had more than 200 emails from concerned businesses.

“To be honest the town centre is on its backside and people I know are already talking of shopping in places like Chester rather than Wrexham, where they get free or cheaper parking.”

Tim Hazel, of Kingswood Frames and Mirrors, who recently closed his shop in Vicarage Hill, Wrexham, following vandalism, said: “The proposed parking charges are the deal breaker.

“We’d been having enough problems but when we heard about this I decided to cut our losses and concentrate on our Mold store, which is already doing three times what the Wrexham store did and where we don’t have the problem of parking charges to contend with.”

Lesley Taylor, who leases properties to three businesses on Brook Street, said: “I've got a petition of 150 businesses who are strongly against this proposal and I’m still collecting.

“It’s going to be completely detrimental to the town centre.”

Helen Sturnam, a partner at The Music Place in Brook Street, said: “We're already struggling because of the increase in online shopping so this is the last thing we need.”

See full story in the Leader

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