Will increased charges make under-used car parks in Much Wenlock more popular?*

I don’t think so.

Shropshire Council’s consultation setting out its car parking proposals is divided into four parts. The first one deals with:

  1. Linear charging
  2. Pricing bands
  3. Unrestricted parking
  4. Evening parking
  5. Loading bays
  6. “Pop & Shop” parking, and
  7. Raven Meadows opening hours

I mentioned the impact of linear charging in my first article on this consultation. At St Mary’s Lane car park, and the little-used Falcons Court car park, a stay for up to three hours is likely to prove to be slightly cheaper than it is currently. For periods longer than three hours (for instance if a visitor is going for a ramble on the Shropshire Way, or taking in the museum and a spot of lunch) it becomes increasingly expensive to stay for a long period (not exceeding a day).

The Back Lane short-stay car park, where waiting is currently limited to one hour, will have the time restriction lifted and rely upon the hourly charge of 70p to ensure that there’s a rapid turnover.

Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock
Back Lane car park, Much Wenlock – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

Evening parking is currently free after 6pm, until 8am the following day. The proposal is for the free overnight stay to start later -at 8pm, and instead remain in place until 9am the following day. The draft consultation document demonstrates that this seems to be driven by the desire for consistency in Shropshire and to make it easier for Shropshire Council to manage.

Falcons Court car park
Falcons Court car park, Much Wenlock  – Thursday 13th July 2017 6pm

The 15-minute “pop & shop” period introduced in 2013 is going under these proposals. Shropshire Council reckon that the 10-minute “observation period”,  i.e. before an enforcement officer can slap a ticket on your vehicle, is enough to buy something like a newspaper. They say that they want to encourage folk to visit our towns for longer so that they’ll spend more money. But shoppers may have to spend more money on parking charges too. I am concerned that this will lead to more people parking their cars and vans on double yellow lines, some times on the footway, while they pop to buy a sandwich, or go to the bank.

The consultation not only seeks your comments on the proposals, but also any alternative suggestions that you might have. I am keen that we invest in signing pedestrian access to our car parks better and using imaginative solutions to get more cars off the streets into the car parks. Of course, you may have observations about how the proposed strategy might affect Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth or other towns that many of us visit.

* Health warning – I have extracted this information from the draft consultation which was approved by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 12th July 2017. I have endeavoured to represent it accurately so far as Much Wenlock is concerned, but I urge you to refer to the official consultation document when you make your comments.