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Calls for free parking to support locals in Monmouth

FREE parking would have only added to congestion in a town hit by disruption due to water works, a councillor has said. 

However Monmouthshire County Council hasn’t ruled out free parking periods in Monmouth ahead of later stages of the work to replace the town’s water pipes. 

Conservative councillor for Osbaston Jane Lucas asked at the council’s April meeting if consideration had been given to free parking to encourage residents to support local businesses during the disruption caused by the Welsh Water works. 

Cllr Paul Griffiths, the Labour cabinet member responsible, said he had considered that and in January this year, “the most difficult period of the Welsh Water works,” parking was low which he attributed to the ongoing work. 

But Cllr Griffiths said: “I’m not, and I was not, persuaded that removing the charges would have made the situation better. It wasn’t the problem people were deterred from even trying to get to the car parks, removing the charges may have made a bad situation worse if it provided an incentive for more people to drive to the town.” 

He said council figures showed car park usage had increased in February and March. 

Cllr Lucas said she wasn’t convinced by that and asked if the council would consider “a couple of free hours parking in the afternoon to encourage shoppers” on possibly Thursdays and Fridays. 

She said: “Shops are really asking for some help, they really are, if we want Monmouth to survive we’ve got to do something.” 

Cllr Griffiths said he would give consideration to the suggestion of free parking periods but said the council also wants to address congestion, particularly around school drop off times including a potential “park and stride” so people could park away from the centre and walk their children to school. 

Cabinet member Cllr Catrin Maby said the car parks she used in Monmouth are free after 6pm.

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