THE PEOPLE of Oswestry are set to have their say on plans to boost the evening economy and encourage shoppers to stay longer.

Oswestry Town Council is set to launch a consultation on proposals to offer free parking after 6pm and before 8am.

Also proposed is replacing the current one-hour tariff with an 80p charge for the first two hours.

Councillor Duncan Kerr made the consultation proposal at the Finance and General Purposes Committee on Monday.

Cllr Kerr told how people who lived nearby could use council car parks overnight and relieve congestion on neighbouring streets.

But mayor of Oswestry, Cllr Sandy Best, opposed the consultation and proposals, which she did not think would have an impact on visitor numbers.

"Every time we talked about changing tariffs, one of the things that comes up is that we have one of the lowest tariffs in the area," she said

"If we start eroding the income without showing any major impact on visitor numbers...I really am bemused (as to) what it's going to achieve."

Town clerk David Preston showed members projected figures that said there could be an extra £50,000 if the same number of tickets were sold for 0-2 hours at 80p.

But the council could lose £8,000 if the minimum tariff was 70p for up to two hours.

Free parking after 6pm could cost around £11,000 per year, according to the figures.

Mr Preston added that these were figures were "just an outline to give us a flavour" and a lot more work needed to be done.

Cllr Mike Coppock said that the council needed to do something about parking.

"As a trader, and speaking to traders, it certainly does affect the length if people's stay in the town and spending their money," he said

Cllr Paul Milner was against changing the tariff but supported the evening parking proposal, which "relieve a lot of pressure" on neighbouring streets.

Cllr Mike Isherwood said that "everyone has a different opinion" and a public consultation was needed to "do something based on what the public are telling us rather than guessing."

Members voted for the consultation proposal by a margin of eight to five against, with Cllr Milner abstaining.

Mr Preston will report further information to the council next month along with draft questions.

The council aims to make a decision in time for the 2019/20 budget.