Plans for evening parking charges in Shrewsbury could be dropped

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet is to consider a recommendation for parking to remain free in Shrewsbury after 6pm.

The recommendation is being made following a meeting between Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury BID.

During the meeting Shrewsbury BID raised concerns over plans to introduce charging until 8pm on-street and in the Bridge Street, St Austin’s Street and Quarry swimming centre car parks as part of Shropshire Council’s new parking strategy – and requested that parking remain free after 6pm.

Peter Nutting, leader of the council, and Steve Davenport, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said that they were minded to support the BID’s request, and it will now be formally considered by Cabinet shortly.

If agreed by Cabinet the proposals mean that parking will remain free after 6pm in Shrewsbury both on-street, and in all Shropshire Council owned car parks – with the exception of Raven Meadows multi-storey, for which charges will apply until midnight initially, before the planned 24-hour opening comes into effect.

As part of the proposals, the BID would work with the council on the promotion, implementation and development of the strategy, and support its efforts to promote Shrewsbury as a great place to shop, visit and work.

It has already been formally agreed that under the new strategy there will be: free parking on Sundays and bank holidays in Frankwell and Abbey Foregate; 15 minutes’ ‘pop and shop’ free parking in all car parks; and discounted weekly and season tickets in Frankwell and Abbey Foregate. Parking for up to five hours in Frankwell and Abbey Foregate will be cheaper than it is now.

The changes already formally agreed are due to come into effect in Shrewsbury in September 2018 before the new parking strategy is rolled out across the county.

Steve Davenport, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said:

“Along with the Leader I was happy to meet with the BID and discuss their concerns regarding the proposed evening parking charges in Shrewsbury. One of the key aims of the new parking strategy is to encourage people to visit Shrewsbury – and all our market towns – by making parking and parking charges simpler, clearer and fairer, and to help local business as a result. We welcomed the BID’s request for free parking after 6pm as this is something that we feel will benefit local businesses and boost Shrewsbury’s night time economy, and this will now be formally considered by Cabinet.”

Seb Slater, Executive Director at the BID explained:

“We are pleased that the Council are listening to our members and the wider public about the vital importance of free on street car parking for the success of their night time economy. Removal of these charges along with the other amendments we have already negotiated for other car parks would be welcome news for all businesses.”

“Throughout this process, we have lobbied the Council on this strategy to ensure the voice of the business is heard and that it reflects their views on this crucial aspect which affects trading within the town. Yesterday’s meeting proves the Council are willing to listen and we are hopeful now that Cabinet will take the scrapping of the evening charges forward” Seb concluded.

Ann Ditella, owner of Loopy Shrew, Darwin’s Kitchen and Darwin’s Townhouse commented:

“As a family run business group with a number of operations servicing the evening and night time customer, free evening car parking is vital. The BID is fighting on our behalf to counter what many of us feel would be a deeply detrimental move for the night time economy. Free parking will make a significant difference for many businesses who are concerned at the idea of new charging penalising the evening visitor to the town.”