Local trader criticises MCC car-park hike proposal

By Jake Chown  
Thursday 7th February 2019 3:27 pm
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A prominent local trader last week hit out at county council plans to jack up parking charges to plug a £200k shortfall owing to free parking at Morrisons. ??During a meeting at town hall, Lucy Hywel, representing Y-Fenni Business Community, urged local councillors to work with local traders, and form a crucial hand in reviving high street fortunes.

This came as Monmouthshire County Council announced it expected to lose £197,000—£2,500 per week—in revenue owing to free parking at the Morrisons supermarket.

MCC admitted the two-hours free parking offered at the supermarket undercut pay and display car parks in Abergavenny.

Plugging this gap, it was proposed, would come through spiking parking fees by ten per cent. ??Ms Hywel told the meeting that other solutions must be sought.

“Perhaps you should be looking at ways of bringing more people into town, rather than punishing local traders, who, as your figures show, pay twenty per cent of your overall income through business rates,” she said.

“We need to reinvent our town so we can compete with the internet. Make it easier, simpler and welcoming for all shoppers alike be they able or disabled. Increased parking charges is not conducive to achieving this. We need to think outside the box and work together.

“Additionally the proposed charges for HGV’s will only turn business away from the town’s pubs and local eateries pushing their business to neighbouring towns where there are no parking charges.

“Last year’s loss of car-parking income is down to the county council’s failure to ensure Morrisons implemented their parking conditions attached to their planning permission. In all honesty, the council messed up,” she said.

The long-awaited Morrisons store opened in March 2018, more than eight years after councillors struck the original deal.

In 2010, Morrisons was expected to apply parking charges in line with council tariffs. This element was junked in 2016 as the agreement reached its final stages.

Documents show that MCC removed that measure, opting instead for an increased capital receipt— a figure of which remains undisclosed.

The final deal totalled almost £18m, with near £14m upfront and a further £4m paid over 25 years.

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