BUSINESSES have joined calls for an hour of free parking in a Flintshire town centre, as the current arrangements are creating a "ghost town".

Cllr David Ellis, mayor of Buckley, said existing charges at council car parks in the centre of town are driving business away.

He said: "The car parking charges are bad and the effect they are having on footfall is devastating. "There needs to be some joined up thinking from our senior politicians about what can be done to help Buckley, with help from Flintshire Council with the car parking.

"Traders have said that an element of free paring would be great, because they're struggling. A free one hour short stay parking arrangement would help."

Andy White, town centre manager for Buckley, said: "We have argued that Buckley is unique. It is not historically a market town - it is a services town.

"Having to pay when you are just coming into town for a paper or a sandwich does not help Buckley and we keep repeating our pleas to Flintshire Council. "An hour of free parking would make all the difference, because we find people avoid paying the charges by parking at places like Aldi, where they can park for free for an hour and a half.

"It is creating a 'donut' parking effect around the town centre.

"It does create a ghost town as well and it is killing Buckley for small independent retailers."

Businesses owners and workers in the centre of Buckley shared their views on the charges, as well as the prospect of an hour free.

Dan Thain, owner of Dapper Daniel’s barber shop, said: "I think an hour free would definitely be a step in the right direction.

"I think more advertisement of the high street would help as well, so people know we're still here."

Samantha Morter, owner of Mirrors salon, said: "Any free working is definitely good. People just don't pop into Buckley any more because it is a faff to have to pay."

Julie Lovelock, owner of Grade One barber shop, said: "I would agree with the one hour free - it's terrible parking here.

"It stops people going to different shops and isn't helping Buckley at all."

Richard Roberts, owner of H&R Roberts and Sons in Mold Road, said: "There should definitely be free parking without a doubt."