COUNCILLORS in Wem will discuss parking charges in the town at Thursday's town council meeting.

The meeting will take place in the Roden Suite at Edinburgh House in Wem and starts with public question time where residents raise issues with the members.

The main talking point of the meeting will be a review of a survey recently sent out to Wem businesses to get their views on parking charges and how they affect footfall throughout the town.

The new parking arrangements were introduced as part of Shropshire Council’s parking strategy for 2019.

At the time, Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our new parking strategy is designed to make parking charges clearer and simpler, and to deliver a wide range of other improvements and benefits to people using our car parks.

"The new arrangements offer a wide range of benefits to users of our car parks, and a number of improvements on the current arrangements, including a variety of free and cheap parking, and parking charges that are easier to understand – together with a wider range of payment methods.”

But despite Cllr Davenport's positivity, eight businesses reported that footfall had been adversely affected by the parking charges being introduced.

Two businesses reported a 30 per cent decrease on footfall compared to last year, with one saying they had seen a 90 per cent decrease.

One owner said the effect of the parking charges had been so severe that they are contemplating closing the business.

"My business has been so badly effected [sic] that I have written to my landlord to explain the situation and informed that that I may have to close," said the business owner.

"I have said I will give it six months, at the moment I am not even covering any of the basic bills, rent utilities and can no longer afford to subsidise it anymore."

Another business owner has lamented the knock on effects of the parking charges, causing shoppers to park on pavements causing 'traffic chaos'.

Other reasons for footfall being down largely include the lack banks or even an ATM in the town centre.

Also at the meeting will be the appointment of a new town mayor for the coming year, as well as decisions on committee representation.

At the end of the meeting the public and press will be excluded while councillors discuss nominations for honorary townsman.