Lib Dems call for Council to trial free parking in towns

By Callum James Littlemore, Feb 07, 2020 8:02

The Powys Liberal Democrats are calling on Powys County Council to trial 2 hours free parking in long-stay car parks in towns across Powys as part of their new “Love Powys Towns” campaign.

Powys Council owns and operates several car parks across Brecon and Radnorshire, including key ones in Brecon, Builth Wells, Hay-on-Wye and Llandrindod Wells.

At present the Council charges for parking in these car parks, the cost of which rose early last year to £4 a day. However, due to this prohibitive cost many sit empty or are regularly under capacity, while cars spill over into residential streets and areas.

The Brecon & Radnorshire Liberal Democrats want to make the first two hours of any stay in a long stay car park free, starting with a trail at Free Street Car Park in Brecon. This move will boost footfall in towns, thus helping to support both local businesses and residents.

Their new “Love Powys Towns” campaign is a broadchurch campaign aiming to highlight and seek solutions to the key issues plaguing our towns; including lack of affordable parking, access to banking services and support for local businesses/community projects.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:

“Whenever I am out speaking to Powys residents an issue that gets raised time and time again is the lack of free parking within our towns.

“While £4 may not sound like a lot, it has a real impact on the number of people who use these car parks. If we want to bring more people and money into our towns, then we need to make things as easy as possible for visitors and locals.

“Powys Council need to accept that current practice fails to address the huge longstanding issues with parking. I hope they will commit to trialling our concept at Free Street Car Park in Brecon to see if it can help make a difference to our struggling town centres.”

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, also commented:

“These car parking charges unfairly penalise older residents and those with mobility issues, who are disproportionately likely to rely upon cars to get around and come into town.

“They also make it harder for us to encourage tourists to visit towns like Brecon, hurting our local businesses that rely on this footfall to help keep their doors open.

“I hope Powys County Council will look seriously at this issue.”

Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats on Powys County Council, added:

“Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillors have long highlighted the issues around car parking in our towns and villages. Quite simply the current costs are too high and that leads to lots of people being unable to afford to use them.

“What we are proposing is a straightforward and pragmatic solution which, if the trial is successful, could transform our towns and give a much-needed boost to our highstreets.”

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