A report by Gwynedd council has found that a third of the free parking spaces provided in council car parks before Christmas were being used by commuters rather than shoppers.
Councillors are considering whether to scrap the free Christmas parking between 15 – 27 December which costs them in the region of £45,000-a-year. The scheme is aimed at increasing footfall on the High Street and benefiting local shops during the pre-Christmas period.
The survey found that 35% of parking spaces were being used all day, being filled before 9am and the vehicles were still there 6 hours later, which suggests the parking spaces are being used by commuters.
Some councillors want to see free Christmas parking remain at weekends or to bring in a time threshold to deter commuters.
Councillor Catrin Wager, of Menai Ward in Bangor, said she liked the idea of free Christmas parking but questioned whether it was useful to local shop owners as it was so near to Christmas and most shoppers have probably completed their Christmas shopping.
Ms Wager suggested changing the current arrangement to allow free parking at the weekends from Black Friday (the last Friday in November) through to Christmas, which could be of more benefit to local shops and also be a cheaper option for the council than the current scheme.
Other options being considered by the council include changing some free car parks to paid (including Beach Road in Bangor) changing the fee structure for short and long stay parking, cashless payments and electric charging points for cars.
The council are yet to make a final decision on the proposals.
The full report to the council can be read here: