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Via ".@eenderinwales"

Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.I have before in this blog discussed the proposed introduction of car parking charges in the Vale Of Glamorgan area specifically Barry Town. I’ve argued that whilst there were other factors to be taken into consideration car parking charges was one factor in the urban tragedy that is Bridgend Town. As a consequence people went to the free out of town shopping facilities with the consequent damage to the town centre business.

Now however there is a proposal for a “parking strategy” that will be put to the Vale of Glamorgan council shortly prepared for them (at their request) by the firm Capita.

I won’t go into detail of the proposals across the borough, that would only bore you, (and it would bore me) besides I’m hoping soon to chat about the town of Cowbridge. For now let’s focus on Barry Town and nearby Penarth.

The recommendations from Capita are basically as follows. Charge for what was free but do it on a tiered basis. So the first two hours would be free, three hours £1,four hours £2,five hours £5/£4 (depending whether it’s a Long or Short stay car park – something they propose to create) and all day £4 and £5 (depending again on Long or Short Stay).

So you ask what’s wrong with that? Two hours free relatively cheap rates otherwise who could argue?

Well two thumbs pointed at this guy

Firstly and let’s be clear here, those prices will go up. You know it and I know it. Once the principle of free parking is breached then there will nothing to stop the council raising it in the future.

Secondly even as they stand the fees will not encourage regular visits to either town centre. People will just go in, do what they have to do and leave as quickly as possible. It will not be instant, but businesses will start to suffer and some might go to the wall because of the loss of regular custom.

The Bridgend Town rot starts to set in.

Interestingly a similar proposal regarding car parking charges was made in 2015 and had some vocal detractors then. Let’s start with blog villain, political glove puppet and wannabee Englishman and tall person Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns who said in his website â€œCouncil tax payers in Barry will find it hard to understand how charging up to £5 to park close to our high streets is going to help regenerate Barry”

And although it appeared from the page he wasn’t against car park charging in principle (of course he wouldn’t be he’s Alun Cairns) he also said  “However they must do the right thing to support the people that live and work locally and work to encourage trade that builds a community rather than introduce unimaginative and ill-thought out charges.â€�

Here’s the page. https://www.aluncairns.com/news/car-parking-charges-barry-cowbridge

He wasn’t the only Conservative figure who was against this in 2015. Former Conservative leader in Wales and the Welsh answer to the question “Who ate all the pies?” Andrew RT Davies said the proposals were a

“tax on the high streetâ€� 

and

” If you charge prohibitively you drive shoppers to out of town shopping centres and it is the businesses on the high street that suffer as a consequence” 

That page is here. http://www.barryanddistrictnews.co.uk/news/10291008.Vale_of_Glamorgan_car_parking_charges__tax_on_the_high_street____AM/

So, to be clear, basically speaking I find myself agreeing with Andrew RT Davies and Alun Cairns!!!

I feel sick.

The thing is though in 2015 the Vale Of Glamorgan council was Labour run. Now it’s a Conservative led Council with independent support. Vale voters and Vale businesses are entitled to know whether these high profile Conservative figures will stick to their principles or will they flip flop (in Mr Davies’ case roll) their way out of them.

And if you have any doubts on what car parking charges can do Bridgend Town is about forty minutes drive away.

Until the next time