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Pressure mounts for a period of free parking

Created on 27/06/2020 @ 11:51
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Pressure is mounting for free parking at Newtown's two main car parks for a period of time to encourage shoppers back into the town centre.

Earlier this week the town's Mayor, Cllr David Selby, urged Powys County Council to stop charging at the Back Lane and Gravel car parks that are owned and operated by the council.

He has joined other county councillors in wanting all council-operated car parks in the county to be free.

Now, the council's Labour group leader has said that the county council's campaign to get people shopping locally is being hampered by the council's very own parking policy.

Powys launched its #supportlocalpowys campaign earlier this week to encourage people to buy locally in Powys.

Cllr Matthew Dorrance said: “I appreciate that this asks you to make a tough choice and the loss of income from parking charges would be substantial but without thriving high streets the County will suffer indefinitely.
“I understand that the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, Wrexham, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Torfaen Councils are offering free parking to support businesses and the retail sector.  Powys is lagging behind and a refusal to act is placing additional burdens on our businesses.
“I am urging you to act before it is too late and suspend parking charges at Council run car parks until at least the end of the year.  During that time, the Council can undertake an in-depth, evidence based study about the impact which can inform what policy should be put in place for the future.”

Earlier this week, Cllr David Selby, who is also a county councillor, said: Cllr Selby said: “This, together with measures to make cycling and walking easier and safer in our town are vital to help with revitalising Newtown as the businesses and shops re-open. 

"Parking as been free by default for some time. It would seem to me an unnecessary and unhelpful step to re-introduce charges now."
Cllr Selby, as a member of the Welsh Lib Democrats is joining his Group Leader in this campaign.

The Welsh Lib Dem and Green Group Leader on Powys Council, Cllr James Gibson-Watt, has written to the ruling Independent – Conservative Cabinet’s Member for Highways to ask that she brings in free car parking on the council’s car parks to help revive the county’s market town centres after the damage caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Commenting, Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “The Council is running a co-ordinated ‘buy local’ campaign and we strongly support that initiative. Our market towns were struggling badly before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and now they need all the help they can get to put them back on their feet.

"Traffic and on-street parking restrictions are going to be needed to ensure people can walk around our town centres observing social distancing to stay safe, which means people will have to use the car parks to visit and shop, even if they are only staying for very short periods.

"It would be a big boost to the retail and commercial businesses in town centres for there to be free parking during this period of revival and I hope the Cabinet can support our request.”



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