The mayor of a Powys town has publicly lambasted the county council for raising car parking charges.

Councillor Mark Hammond, who is the mayor of Builth Wells, tore into Powys County Council in a post on social media claiming they had received “a number of complaints” about the recent decision to raise charges from £1 for the first hour to £2.50.

In Builth this affects the long stay car parks at The Groe and Smithfield Road.

“It is noted that county councillor, Cabinet member Jackie Charlton, is quoted as saying that the one-hour option is still available in the county’s short-stay car parks,” said Mr Williams. “As these are in Brecon, Llandrindod, Knighton, Welshpool, Newtown and Hay-on-Wye, they are of no use whatsoever to Builth traders, residents and visitors.

“Perhaps Councillor Charlton needs to look at a map of Powys to see where Builth actually is.”


The changes were made to raise income for the council after inflation has led to difficulties in the budget and it was hoped it would encourage visitors to park in the town for longer and benefit the local economy.

“I am sorry to say that this is wishful thinking at its worst,” added Councillor Hammond. “Significant numbers of residents, and people who live close by, use the car parks for short duration trips into town.”

“Visitors who are driving through will be less inclined to stop to shop around the town if it’s going to cost £2.50 before they have even got out of the car park.”

“At a time when the cost-of-living crisis and mortgage rates are causing people stress and hardship, as well as our local businesses having to battle against online retailers, surely its only common sense to either reduce car parking charges or make the first two hours free to attract people into the town?”

County Times:

Councillor Hammond suggested he could “perhaps signpost her and her colleagues” to alternatives “that would not hit our communities in the pocket” including scrapping the council’s £300,000 “reimagining public services” project.

He also suggested perhaps “linking 50 per cent of their (the council cabinet) salaries to actually managing the council effectively and efficiently in all respects would focus their minds?

“Even if they failed to do so, the 50 per cent savings would be around £195,00 - thus possibly enabling lots of free parking all around the county?”

A spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “Whilst we appreciate that price rises are never welcome, this is the first time in over three years that we have increased parking charges in Powys carparks.

“The new charges were recommended as part of the council’s requirement to set a balanced budget for 2023-24 and to keep council tax to a minimum, which we achieved. 

“We fully accept that the cost-of-living crisis is hitting everyone right now which is why we did not increase the charges for stays over four hours or for permits, used mainly by people parking for work or residents without on-street parking facilities. There are also 32 free, one hour parking spaces in Builth Wells which allows residents to park in the high street for short duration trips.

“By encouraging residents and visitors to park in our towns for longer, we anticipate more activity on the high street, with shoppers inclined to make the most of their visit. The cost to park for the day remains the same encouraging holiday makers and tourists to stay longer and enjoy our beautiful towns and the facilities they have to offer."