Car parking charge increase in Flintshire fails to deliver expected income
A Controversial set of parking charge increases are failing to deliver the expected income, it has been revealed.
A raft of price hikes were introduced at car parks in Buckley, Connah’s Quay, Flint, Holywell, Mold, Queensferry and Shotton in May after being approved by Flintshire Council’s cabinet.
The move was met with opposition from both shoppers and traders who were concerned about how it would impact on towns across the county.
The authority said the changes were necessary to produce additional revenue, and also reasonable in comparison to parking costs in other areas.
But a report set to go before the corporate resources scrutiny committee on Thursday shows the amount of money being brought in is lower than anticipated.
Outlining a highways network overspend of £350,000, corporate finance manager Gary Ferguson said:
“Following increased car park charges from May 2018, together with charges in Flint being implemented for the first time, initial forecasts have indicated lower than anticipated income levels compared to original projections.
“In addition officers have recently been appointed to meet the demands of parking enforcement requirements across the county. These overall variances total £160,000.”
Last month it was warned the increase was having a negative impact on traders in Mold, where charges are higher than the rest of the county because of the number of visitors.
Saffron Hulson, who works at Hulsons pie shop, said: ‘We’ve definitely seen an impact on business.
“The car park round the corner is half as full as it used to be.
”There needs to be a lower price for short stays, otherwise everyone is going to end up going to places like Broughton Shopping Park.”
Members at a meeting of Mold Town Council were also told there had been a reduction in the number of car parking ticket sales in the last year.
Some councillors claimed the drop in visitors to the town was a direct result of the new pricing system.
But Harvey Mitchell, Flintshire Council’ waste and ancillary services manager, said:
“The council is aware of a small reduction in the number of tickets purchased, compared to the previous year, with this trend beginning in late 2017.
“We have not seen a further decrease in tickets purchased since the new charges were introduced in May 2018.
“We are also not aware of any significant levels of displacement of cars parking around the town since the new charges have been introduced.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.
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