Posted: Mon 16th Nov 2020

Holywell church plans to install ANPR camera in bid to stop misuse of car park

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A town centre church in Flintshire has entered plans to install an automatic number plate recognition camera in a bid to stop drivers from misusing its car park.

The 50 parking spaces at St Winefride’s Church in Holywell are only meant to be used by parishioners attending mass and other services.

However, parish priest Father Justin Karakadu said unauthorised use had led to damage being caused to the car park on Well Street, as well as rubbish piling up.

He said it had also caused inconvenience for parishioners, resulting in representatives of the church, which dates back to 1832, deciding to take action.

An application has now been submitted to Flintshire Council to allow one camera to be put up to monitor vehicles going in and out of the site.

In a notice to users of the church, Fr. Karakadu said the system would be operated by management company Parking Eye, who will issue charges to anyone using the car park without permission.

He said: “Clearly something must be done to reduce the problems. This has been discussed extensively.

“We have considered a number of self-managed options, such as closing the gates to the car park or installing controlled barriers, but these can be expensive and difficult to manage in practice.

“We have decided to appoint a professional management company, Parking Eye, to manage the car park for the next three years.

“They use an automated number plate recognition system to identify vehicles registered on their system.”

He added: “Parishioners who have registered their vehicle registration numbers may use the car park free of charge.

“Any parked vehicle which is not registered will be subject to parking charges imposed and collected by Parking Eye.”

The car park is situated close to one of the Seven Wonder of Wales in the form of the shrine and pilgrimage site at St Winefride’s Well.

The plans have been put forward by the Wrexham Diocesan Trustees, who are responsible for both the church and shrine.

To assist in meeting the cost of managing the car park, non-parishioners will be offered a limited number of spaces for a fee, based on either a six- or twelve-month contract.

Fr. Karakadu said: “Whilst we appreciate that these arrangements may come as a surprise to some of you, we hope that you will understand the motives behind this very difficult decision.

“Not only should it mitigate the parking problems we have experienced, we hope a number of car parking licences will be taken up by non-parishioners, as this will help with maintaining the car park and in providing much-needed funds to support the church.”

Comments are currently being invited on the proposals via the local authority’s website, with a decision expected at a later date.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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