Car parking charges
Flintshire County Council's Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee will review the proposed changes to car parking charges and recommend their preferred option when it next meets on Tuesday, 16 January.
Car parking charging levels have not been reviewed since their introduction in April 2015 and the income generated does not meet the full cost of managing and operating the car parks. This position is contrary to the Council's newly adopted corporate policy for fees and charges which expects chargeable non-mandatory functions to be provided on a full cost recovery basis wherever possible.
Flintshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Transportation, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said:
"We are living in difficult times and raising charges in the car parks is always going to be a contentious issue. However, this is one of the solutions to help balance our annual budget and income levels need to be raised across all services. All Councils are in a similar position and from comparative research Flintshire has scope to increase its total income. The proposed increases are reasonable and would still be low when compared to other Welsh counties.
The impact of local parking trends has been considered widely in every town where there are car parking charges. Every opportunity to offer some free on-street parking, close to the town centre has been examined and the Council is currently consulting with two Town Councils about the potential to remove existing pedestrianisation orders, which will allow vehicles back into the High Streets.
â€˜Residents Only' parking schemes are also being considered in two areas of the County, where displaced parking is occurring as a result of the unavailability of car parking in the town centre which is creating issues for local residents.
The more challenging element is to measure the impact car parking charges has on the vitality and viability of the Town centres. Research shows that charges have not impacted on car parking usage, in fact the levels of use have actually increased in six towns over the past two years. The exception is Connah's Quay where there is extensive off-street parking.
Councillor Thomas continued:
"The total cost of delivering and managing the car parking service is £886,000 a year and this would be recovered by the proposed charges. This would result in the car parking service being cost neutral and achieving full cost recovery."
There are no plans to raise the car parking charges currently in Talacre as the rates charged there are already above those charged elsewhere in the county. However, in Mold, it is proposed that charges would continue at a slightly higher level than in other areas of the County with a percentage of the increased charge being returned to the Town Council to allow them to invest in visitor infrastructure improvements.
If agreed, the new charging arrangements will be advertised in each car park during February and March 2018 and will come into effect from 1 April 2018.