Railway station stays free – but Ellesmere could be hit in new parking strategy

Reporter:

Lucy Wain

PEOPLE power helped stave off the introduction of car parking charges at Gobowen railway station.

To help raise much-needed funds, cash-strapped Shropshire Council was looking for across-the-board parking increases in the county.

The railway station was initially earmarked as a potential site to introduce charges, ending decades of free parking.

Councillor Steve Davenport, the county council’s portfolio holder for transport, had been approached by some Gobowen residents supporting a charge.

But in the newly-released parking strategy, it is to remain free of charge.

But motorists in Ellesmere are set to be hit hard by the new charges, with some prices increasing from 10p for two hours to 30p for one hour.

Cllr Davenport said: “We have listened to the people.

“This was one of the biggest consultations we have ever conducted, with about 22,000 individual comments.

“We listened to what people wanted and took notice of what they said.

“There was significant feedback about the Gobowen proposals and we have decided to do as we were asked and allow free parking to remain.

“Many residents were worried that if we introduced charges, motorists using the railway station would find somewhere to park in neighbouring streets, clogging them up.

“We listened to that and have decided to keep parking free at the station.”

The new parking strategy could see charges at some Oswestry car parks costing up to double of those owned by the town council.

The new list of charges for car parks across the county will be considered by the unitary authority’s cabinet tomorrow.

Despite looking to lower the price of its car parks in the town, it would still be more than the fees charged by Oswestry Town Council.

For example, fees at the Shropshire Council-owned Festival Square car park – which currently costs £1.10 for one hour – would be reduced to £1 in the strategy.

Parking in Beatrice Street, which currently costs £1 for one hour, would drop to 70p if the strategy is approved.

The Oak Street and Oswald Road car parks currently cost £1 for up to 10 hours, but the strategy would see the price rise to 30p per hour.

Oswestry Town Council owns car parks such as Central, Horsemarket and Smithfield Street, which currently cost 50p per hour.

Shropshire Council also currently charges 50p to 60p for parking on Sundays and bank holidays at its car parks, but the strategy would see these days become free to park.

In Ellesmere, charges could go up at Talbot, Cross, and Spar Bridge. Parking currently costs 10p for two hours, but these are set to rise to 30p per hour.

On-street parking by the mere could also cost £1 per hour, according to the strategy – it currently costs 50p an hour.

The changes are the result of a 12-week consultation which also prompted requests for improvements to the layouts of some car parks.

If the cabinet agrees the pricing strategy the new charges will come into effect later this year.

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