Express & Star

Pub car parking charges row resolved after 'sharp drop in trade' prompts rethink

A row over parking has apparently been resolved after the land owners agreed to scrap unpopular charges.

The Crown car park in Albrighton. Photo: Google.

Councillors in Albrighton said the loss of the free car park at The Crown public house last year, which had previously been leased to Shropshire Council, had resulted in a sharp drop in trade for businesses in the village after parking cameras were installed.

Research by Albrighton parish councillor David Meyrick, presented to a council meeting in December, showed an average decrease in trade of around 15 per cent for each shop.

Now, following several months of negotiations, Albrighton Parish Council says land owners Marstons has agreed to drop the charges and make the car park free to shoppers once more.

A statement from the parish council said the cameras would be removed indefinitely this week and the car park would return to being a free facility.

“As a result of this becoming a paid car park, we are aware a lot of residents and visitors to the village had decided to boycott the car park and The Crown which we were disheartened to hear,” they said.

“Similarly, we noticed an increase of parking on the roads near to the centre of the village, and a lot of shops losing customers [due] to outside visitors not being able to park or wishing to pay the charges.

“Marstons have agreed for the paying facilities at the Crown car park to be removed indefinitely.”

The decision followed a meeting with the pub group’s operations manager Paul Gill, who said cameras had been installed in an effort to stop commuters parking there for the day before catching a train elsewhere.

“We found this to be hugely unpopular in the village and it is unfair for the whole community to suffer for the actions of a few,” he said.

“As a result of this we have taken the decision to remove the parking meter from March 1, we apologise for any distress it may have caused.”

Nigel Lumby, Shropshire county councillor for Albrighton said after parking meters were installed at The Crown that shoppers had been heading elsewhere, with traders in nearby Shifnal, Codsall or Pattingham benefiting from increased footfall at the expense of Albrighton.

“The Crown pub should be at the heart of the village but these charges and fines were ripping Albrighton’s heart out,” he said.

“I look forward to the Crown getting its business and customers back and being embraced by the community.”