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Car park charges review put on hold

Created on 20/11/2020 @ 11:11
A review of car parking provision and charges in Newtown and throughout Powys has been put on hold due to coronavirus.

A meeting of Powys County Council's car parking charges review group was held in October and proposals from there had been passed over to be looked at by council staff.

At a meeting of the Economy, Residents, Communities and Governance scrutiny committee yesterday, Environment Portfolio Holder Cllr Heulwen Hulme, explained why the issue needed to be put on the back burner indefinitely.

Cllr Hulme, said: “We need to do a much wider review of car park provision.

She said that car park capacity and usage needed to be looked at, as well as “mothballing” or finding a new use for some car parks.

The cabinet member added that there were also some car parks which didn’t charge a fee, and overnight parking for Lorries or Motor-homes also needed to be thought about.

Cllr Hulme continued: “We also need to factor on street parking in our towns as there was a recommendation for resident parking permits.

“I believe there is some mileage in that, but it needs to be part of an overall review.”

Cllr Hulme added that any trials for potential changes would need to be done once the pandemic is over.

Due to the number of people who now work from home which she expects to continue for “some time,” the use of car parks has changed.

Cllr Hulme said: “The service needs a clear picture of what the future norm will be.”

“I have asked the service to, excuse the pun, park this, and bring it back on to the agenda by the end of the financial year.

“Hopefully by then we will have a better picture of where we are with Covid-19.”

Committee Chairman, Cllr Dorrance, pressed for greater clarity of the time scale, and when would “firm proposals” be brought forward for councillors to look at?

Cllr Hulme answered: “Even by the end of March we’re not going to know where we are with Covid-19, I’m happy to keep it on the agenda so that it remains a live working programme.”

Cllr Jeremy Pugh, said: “People are parking all over towns in different places.

“We have lots of car parks that are empty, why can’t we provide a service?

“We’re promoting our high streets on the web, but we’re doing nothing really to support them.

“Free car parking at strategic times would make a massive difference to businesses.

“It’s time for action not excuses.”

Cllr Dorrance added: “I think this shows we’re keen to scrutinise any proposals that are brought forward.”

During the summer school holidays, from mid July to the end of August, two hours free parking was given to car park users.

This was to encourage people to shop in Powys’ towns.

In 2019/20 car parking charges made £1.5 million for PCC, and had been expected to generate to £1.7 million this year.

The Welsh Government have given PCC over £1 million to cover loss of income from car parking charges from April to June of this year.


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service