CHARGES are set to be increased at Flintshire Council owned car parks, and introduced at others which are currently free.
At last week’s full council meeting to set the budget it was revealed that plans to find money to plug the authority’s deficit would see car park charges go up, and payment introduced at others.
That budget, backed by the controlling Labour group, was passed by 36 votes to 30, after a proposal to consider an alternative budget by the opposition Independent group fell by a similar margin.
When and where the changes will be introduced is still being finalised according to the council, but the Tinkersdale car park in Hawarden is one of the locations currently free of charge where some local councillors fear fees could be introduced.
It was raised at the meeting by Hawarden Aston Cllr Helen Brown, a member of the opposition Independent group who says some members felt blindsided by the proposals which they say they only became aware of late in the day.
Cllr Brown, who has parents of school pupils living in her ward who rely on the car park, says the lack of a denial when put to officers and leaders during the meeting last week led her to believe it is a facility where the authority is considering introducing charges.
She said: “I referred to Tinkersdale in the meeting and no-one came forward to deny it.
“Yellow lines have been put down by Hawarden Village Church School recently and parents are actively encouraged to park at Tinkersdale instead. This is going to push people to parking on the side roads.
“I’ve already asked Streetscene to look into the possibility of giving the first half hour free if they are looking to introduce charges there, because if you have kids in different year groups, you’re dropping them off and picking them up at four different times of the day it is going to really cost you.
“Our group has so many questions about this, and they should be consulting with community councils.
“Luckily the Gladstone playing fields car park is under Hawarden Community Council and that will remain free.”
A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “Details of the proposed charges across the county and when they will come into place are still being finalised. A communications plan is currently being prepared and information will be shared publicly as soon as possible.
“The list of budget solutions presented to County Council last week were for part-year implementation and included the introduction of charges on other Council owned car parks.
“Again, a communications plan is being prepared to ensure that local residents and communities are fully informed in advance of the changes.”