INCREASING car parking fees could see shoppers choose to go elsewhere rather than Powys town centres, councillors fear.
From April 1 the cost of parking in short stay car parks will rise from £1 for the first hour, to £1.40 and from £2 to £2.50 to park for up to two hours.
The cost of parking in long stay mixed car parks will rise from £1 for the first hour to £2.50 and from £2 to £2.50 for two hours.
The fees for vehicles with a trailer or caravan using the long car park will go up from £2 to £5 for the first hour and from £4 to £5 for two hours.
The price of` parking for four hours or more will remain the same for short term car parks.
But parking for up to four hours in long stay car parks will rise from £3 to £3.25 for cars and £6 to £6.50 for vehicles with a trailer or caravan.
The price hike was part of cuts/savings and income generation proposals put forward by the council highways, transport and recycling (HTR) department worth £50,000 for Powys County Council’s 2023/2024 budget.
It is one of many ideas that council chiefs has come up with to try and bridge a funding gap of £16.4 million next year and was agreed by Powys councillors at a meeting on Thursday, February 23 which set the budget.
Conservative Cllr Peter Lewington said that the budget “talks” about developing a vibrant economy but doesn’t explain how to do that.
Cllr Lewington said “When our town centres are in desperate need it would surely be sensible to reduce car parking charges or make the first two hours free to attract customers for our local businesses.”
Cllr Lucy Roberts agreed with her Conservative colleague.
Cllr Roberts said: “You’re looking to increase car parking in some of our towns by up to 150 per cent.”
“These are businesses that are really struggling at the moment and if we’re talking about vibrant communities and getting them going again we need to have cheap parking.
“It’s a really detrimental and backward step that we’re looking at increasing parking charges, because it will force people to go elsewhere.”
“It’s something that we really should give further consideration to.”
Cabinet member for a greener Powys Liberal Democrat Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “What we decided to do was look at the level of time that people park.
“If you are parking for over four hours in the day that’s probably because you either work in an area or need a permit.
“We decided to make no rises at all in those two charges but look at the lower rate.”
“We were challenged with making a £50,000 saving and we believe this will achieve it.
A permit to allow a car or motor cycle to park annually in any council car park will cost £370 a year.