Proposals to introduce car parking charges in the Vale of Glamorgan have been rejected by a group of councillors.
The Council’s Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee met last night to discuss the proposals, which traders fear will decimate local businesses in the Vale.
A number of residents and business owners spoke at the meeting, and the Committee made a number of recommendations, which gained unanimous support.
These included a proposal from Cllr Andrew RT Davies that there should be up to two hours’ free on street car parking in Barry Island, with no charges during the winter months.
Cllr Davies said he had discussed the proposals with local business owner Louis Ross, who runs the #Barrybados brand, and has organised a 4,000 signature petition calling on the Council to think again.
Cllr Davies said, “The Island has the potential to be the jewel in Barry’s crown, but we need to help local businesses thrive.
“Having met with Louis, it is clear there is not an outright opposition to charges, but that any proposals must be proportionate and properly thought out.
“I am therefore pleased the Committee agreed that parking should be free for the first two hours, allowing visitors to use local businesses, as well as no charges during the winter months, where practically all business comes from locals rather than the tourism trade.”
The Committee also recommended that no parking charges be introduced in town centre car parks or on-street, while proposals for car parks at ‘resorts’ (such as Barry Island) were significantly watered down – with charges reduced to £2 for the first two hours.
The recommendations will now be referred back to the Council’s Cabinet for consideration.
Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Chair Cllr Vincent Bailey said, “As a council, we must always remember that small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and are key local employers.
“There was a cross-party consensus on this and the Committee’s view was clear: the proposed charges would be disastrous for local traders and should not go ahead.
“I urge the Council to adopt our recommendations and take these plans back to the drawing board.”