Saturday, 10 June 2017

Regenerating Wrexham - trying something new isn't an option, it's essential

Plaid Cymru's manifesto for Wrexham included a call to pilot free parking in the town to improve footfall.
 This pilot would enable the council to assess its effectiveness and finesse any issues with the system being abused by those who normally pay for parking in the town anyway. It could start at 9.30am, for example, and end earlier than the average working day. Or it could be in distinct blocks to enable shoppers to have enough time in the town.
 It's clear from this that free parking, which is in effect for special events, street festivals and Christmas, DOES improve footfall and the economic viability of town centre shops and businesses.
 The current council's reluctance to offer free parking is largely based on a concern that it would lose £587,000 a year in income. That's understandable when further budget cuts are being faced but it misses the point spectacularly... the council's over-arching aim should be to create a vibrant and prosperous town centre that boost the economy. Just looking at things from the silo of car parking and income generated from council car parks is too narrow a worldview.
 It also contradicts the council's stated aim of creating a masterplan for the town centre.
 What's needed now is a cross-cutting approach that looks at every opportunity to maximise footfall and boost trade. That also means tackling anti-social behaviour and the drug problem blighting some areas of the town.
 Small but significant steps are being taken but giant strides are needed to transform Wrexham town. Trying something new isn't an option - it's essential.

Read more of Plaid Cymru's local manifesto at PlaidWrecsam.Cymru 

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