Currently market traders can purchase a waiver to allow all day parking in the town centre car parks. In a consultation slipped out announced, Shropshire Council is to withdraw all waivers. Traders will need to pay £1 an hour, £1.80 an hour on street. Or park outside the town centre. Anyone who has run a market stall single handed will know that is not practical. The danger is that traders will be put off coming to our market.
I have received one comment in on this already: “Is the Council trying to kill off the market. Are they economic illiterates?”
I’m not going to comment on that but as usual, Shropshire Council is promoting this change of policy without any assessment of its economic impact.
Not for the first time, I am writing about competing interests in a town that is sometimes busier than its historic layout can cope with. Shropshire Council has decided that the needs of people who trade in the town are secondary to all other matters.
Market trader permits are available in Castle Street car park at a concessionary rate of £4 per day from April to December and £2 per day from January to March. The lower decks of Upper Galdeford are charged at £2 a day.
The council says that the “standard capped tariff” is considered appropriate. In Castle Street car park, that’s £8 a day. The council also says the traders shouldn’t get a better deal than residents.
Shropshire Council lists the impacts of the change, as:
- Increase in parking availability for visitors.
- Less town centre congestion.
- Increase in parking congestion in outlying car parks.
- Not as convenient for market traders to return to vehicles.
- Parking tariff compatibility for all users.
The consultation runs from 10 May to 7 June. Update: After protests from councillors the consultation has been extended until 21 June.
The council will be holding a drop-in session from 1pm to 4pm on 16 May in the Library Education Room.
No one would know about this without digging into Shropshire Council’s website because the publicity has been zilch.
I learnt about this at the end of last week and have since been busy with other matters. That included getting the consultation on car park charges relaunched because it was legally flawed. I have succeeded in that and will write about it as soon as the restart is announced.
Yesterday, I tried to get the 16 May drop in delayed and properly publicised. I failed but Shropshire Council made a general commitment to further sessions jointly planned with local members. By the time we get those organised, bearing in mind a bank holiday is coming up, the consultation will be all but over.
This change of the parking changes has been planned for a year. I don’t know why it is being managed so chaotically by Shropshire Council. Nothing is joined up. It is impossible to see the whole picture for any single town because we have four separate parking consultations all at once.