NEW changes implemented to parking across Flintshire have been met with a mixed response.

Most pay and display car parks in the county saw a rise in the cost of parking come into place from October 1, with most seeing an increase of 20p.

This coincided with the start of the new free after 3pm, Monday to Saturday.

In a review ahead of the changes, deputy leader of the council, Cllr Dave Hughes, said the goal of 'free after three' was to benefit towns positively.

He said: "Parking in Flintshire has always been exceptionally good value and competitively priced in our town centres.

"The intention is to encourage residents and visitors to spend more time in our town centres for shopping and leisure, which in turn will support local businesses."

New Street car park in Mold.

New Street car park in Mold.

Users of the car parks will be able to continue to use cash at pay and display machines or use the PayByPhone app.

The Leader spoke with several business owners in Mold, who shared the optimism for 'free after three'.

Caroline Johnson, of The Bookshop, on the High Street, said: "I am very pleased to see that we have a period of free parking, this will encourage people to shop after they have collected their children from school or when they have finished work.

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"It's disappointing that the parking fees have increased for the rest of the time but it was to be expected."

Rick Lee, from The Gathering, on The Cross added: "Some of us businesses who are open later are trying to put ideas together to encourage customers to use the free parking after 3pm.

"For example, I am getting some vouchers together for a discount on drink and cake. Customers can use car parks like Love Lane, and that has gone up by only 20p.

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"Lots of businesses are trying to be positive about the changes. That's what I have been doing with my customers. It's accepting the change and then being positive about it."

Colin Trueman, from VOD Music on New Street, said: "In the scheme of things an extra 20p isn't so bad and still relatively cheap parking.

"I think local business would benefit from a free first half hour, as customers will have to pay £1.20 if just picking something up and not stopping in Mold.

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"The main issue for most isn't really the pricing it's the state of the surfacing in the car park and also the loss of toilet facilities in New Street car park, which as the main car park. I am sure even if people had to pay, it would be seen as a good thing.

"It's a great town and very popular, just small tweaks can make a big difference to local business and visitors to Mold."

The changes were met with a mix of positivity for 'free after three' but disappointment at the prise increase.

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Graham Billington, from New Brighton, said: "It's too much for too little and the car parks are in a poor condition, and the coach parking area rarely has anything parked on it."

He also pointed out that often the ticket machines weren't working, adding he wasn't keen on using his phone or card to pay.

Jayne Harding, from Pontybodkin and her mother Maya Evans, from Leeswood also said that using a phone app wasn't always suitable for everyone.

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They were all for 'free after three' but highlighted some places people want to visit, such as a bank, are often closed after 3pm.

They added: "The rise could drive people to the out-of-town shops more."

Gloria Williams, from Rhydymwyn, said: "The 'free after three' is great for parents of school age children but for others, such as those working, the elderly or people with young children, already struggling, a rise in cost can make a big difference.

"I appreciate councils have higher costs too but this could put people off shopping on the high street."

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Mold Town Council offered their support to the changes, with Deputy Mayor Cllr Sarah Taylor adding: "Mold Town Council are pleased that Flintshire County Council have finally considered positive alterations to the parking provision in Mold, I am sure 'free after three' will be welcomed not only by our businesses and traders but also to our residents and visitors, who will now be able to pop into town to do shopping free of charge."

As the busy Christmas period approaches, time will tell if the price rise will put people off or if 'free after three' will help attract more shoppers to Flintshire's towns and high streets.

• A breakdown of changes to parking costs and times across Flintshire Council's car parks, can be found at: