Introduction of Vale car parking charges to be deferred

21 September 2015

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has announced that the introduction of car parking charges for Barry and Cowbridge town centre car parks is to be delayed while the proposed charges are reviewed.

A report to cabinet in July had proposed the introduction of car parking charges for the use of 146 spaces in Barry and 179 spaces in Cowbridge town centre car parks, 8% and 22% of the total spaces in each respective town centre.

However, following the feedback received from local traders, residents, and the Council’s economy and environment scrutiny committee a decision has been taken to reappraise some aspects of the proposal, including the viability of offering a period of free parking.

Cllr Gwyn John, Cabinet Member for Visible Services and Leisure, said: “The introduction of car parking charges for the small proportion of spaces in the designated car parks already identified in Barry and Cowbridge is still considered a necessity.

“However, in light of the feedback that we have received, particularly from scrutiny committee, I have asked for further work to be done to reappraise certain aspects of the proposals before a final decision is taken.

“The additional work to be undertaken will focus on two areas, the possible use of automatic number plate recognition technology and the viability of incorporating a period of free parking within the proposed charging arrangements.”

Due to central government cuts the Vale Council must meet a funding shortfall of £25m over the next three years. Although the proposed charges will generally raise money to fund the maintenance, operation and improvement of the car parks themselves, the rationale for introducing charges was rooted in the need to increase the number of visitors and parking space availability to two of the Vale’s town centres.

Parking surveys have shown that the majority of town centre car parking spaces are not being used for short stays by visitors or shoppers but rather for longer stay parking, with many spaces often being occupied by the same car all day. In Barry 40% of vehicles in the Kendrick Road car park and 52% of those in the Thompson Street car park stay for at least 4.5 hours. While in Cowbridge, 62% of car parked in the Town Hall car park stay for at least this length of time. All of the car parks for which charges being proposed are full or close to capacity for most of the working day. The introduction of charging in the designated car parks is designed to free up those spaces closest to our shopping centres for people planning on short stays.