The High Street Traders Association has launched a petition against the proposed introduction of on-street parking charges by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which are currently under consultation.
In a post on the High Street Shopping Quarter Facebook page they say “The independent traders of High Street strongly disagree with the proposed charges and the detrimental effect it will have on the regeneration of the High Street shopping area for both businesses and residents of Barry.”
Fay Blakeley who runs Homemade Wales on High Street, Barry and organised the petition told Bro Radio “The proposed parking strategy as far as we can see from the Vale of Glamorgan Council website proposes that the first hour of parking would be free and each subsequent hour there will be charged”.
She continued to say “Currently on High Street there is restricted parking but for those first two hours there is no charge at all. We know that the day to day customers that come Monday to Friday to High Street are often elderly, parents on paternity leave or stay at home parents and these people who come in day to day to the street, they stay longer than that.”
“They might meet their friends for a cup of coffee, they might drop their dog at the groomers while they look at the other shops, an hour just isn’t long enough. It just makes the High Street unfeasible for people to visit.”
Cllr John Thomas, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “The Council has had a car parking strategy prepared by consultants and we are conducting a widespread programme of engagement and consultation with all those who have an interest in what it says. This includes seeking the views of residents, visitors, businesses, traders and town and community councils on a number of issues. These include the management of car parking, charging options as well as potential displacement. The Cabinet will then, and only then, consider the way forward.
“It is important to remember and consider the context for this report. It is a fact that year on year we are facing tougher challenges in delivering a wide range of services in the face of increasing pressures and reducing budgets. In November 2016, the Wales Audit Office published its findings into how local authorities were generating income amid increased budget pressures. One of the key recommendations from the report was the need for all authorities to develop strategic approaches for introducing and reviewing charges and it is on this basis that the Council has drafted and agreed the Income Generation and Commercial Opportunities Strategy for 2017-20.
“Given the continual year on year reductions in the settlement afforded to this Council by Welsh Government, the Council must consider our approach to the management of car parking across the Vale. Our proposals are for parking in town centres to remain free for an initial period, after which charges will apply. The reason why such an approach is being proposed is that I and my Cabinet colleagues recognise the important role played by businesses and retailers in contributing to the local economy. I also recognise that we need turnover in town centres, and managing car parking will ensure that such turnover is possible and promoted, again to the benefit of our town centre businesses as well as visitors.
“Public consultation on the strategy has begun and will last until September 28. Only after all views have been carefully considered will a firm decision on this issue be made. ”
The Vale of Glamorgan Council is currently running a public consultation which will last until 28th September, alongside a series of drop-in sessions for members of the public to share their views.
You can find out more about the Draft Parking Strategy and share your views via the Vale of Glamorgan Council Website.
Drop in sessions: