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Free parking is the key to high street revival

Free council parking schemes should be introduced across Wales as part of plans to revive our high streets.


That’s the call from Welsh Conservatives, who’ve today reaffirmed their commitment to more flexible parking to encourage shoppers into town centres and high streets.


The party has also called for all councils to publish annual reports on how much they make from parking charges.


It comes amid reports that Welsh councils made nine million pounds last year, according to RAC figures seen by the BBC.


Welsh Conservative policy document ‘A Vision for the Welsh High Street’ was initially launched in 2012 and is available

It includes a clear free parking priority and will be included in the party’s 2016 manifesto.


When parking is not free during the day or night, Welsh Conservatives have also called for an official Wales-wide 10 minute leeway on parking fines. It follows figures obtained by the party which showed 15 million pounds had been raised by councils during the last three financial years and more than 500,000 parking fines had been dished out across the country.


Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Regeneration, William Graham AM, said:


“Free parking is the key to high street revival. The evidence clearly shows that when parking is easy, footfall soars.


“We’ve spent the last three years calling for the Labour government to work with councils and introduce free parking schemes. It’s one of the most significant answers to the question of high street decline and Welsh Conservatives would ensure it happens.


“Wales deserves high streets that are fit to compete with 21st century shopping patterns and that means far more innovative thinking and creative support.


“Business rates reform, simplified planning, town centre managers; these are just some of the additional proposals within a Welsh Conservative high street strategy that could reverse a worrying decline in footfall.”