Posted: 10.06.20 at 16:54 by Alex Seabrook
Shops in Barry have called for a delay to new car parking charges, given the economic shock of coronavirus.
Drivers could soon have to pay to park at Wyndham Street car park, Barry, near to the Holton Road shops.
Vale of Glamorgan Council has launched a consultation on introducing the charges, which ends on June 19.
But shop owners have said the charges should be delayed, as they could put off shoppers coming to Holton Road.
David Elliott, chairman of Holton Road Traders Association, said: “After the last proposal, we gave opinions and worked alongside the council to come to a ‘compromise’ to have the proposal meet both parties. This was back last year, in a completely different economic environment.
“With the uncertainty brought on from the Covid-19 pandemic, this is now the last thing we would ever want instead All high streets and shopping areas will struggle to reopen and it will take quite some time for these areas to thrive once more.
“The parking charges currently suggested by the Vale of Glamorgan Council are undoubtedly coming at the worst possible time. We want to see footfall in our town, our beaches and in our shops — charging visitors to park will most definitely put them off.
“This action could result in some businesses not reopening, or closing due to shop losses after opening. We have emailed local councillors to help us to appeal the proposal at this time, with the desire to push back any proposed car parking charges until at least 2022.”
The car park would be free to use for up to two hours, cost £2 for a stay of between two and four hours, with a price of £6 for all-day parking. The tariffs would apply six days per week, between Monday and Saturday, from 8 am to 6 pm, with blue badge holders able to park for free.
Councillor Ian Johnson, who leads the Plaid Cymru group on the Vale council, said the coronavirus pandemic “changes everything” when it comes to local businesses.
Cllr Johnson said: “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are now in a very different situation to when the proposals for introducing car parking charges at Wyndham Street were agreed, and businesses are under threat for a range of reasons.
“Is this really the right time to be pushing this forward? You’re sacrificing the town centre for the sake of pennies of council profit. What’s the purpose of the council if it actively undermines the space it’s supposed to be supporting?”
Council leader Neil Moore said: “As a council, we have already categorically stated that these charges will not be introduced during the coronavirus pandemic and until the impact of Covid-19 has been assessed, particularly on business.
“The process currently underway is the statutory consultation on the Traffic Orders that need to be in place, otherwise charging cannot be carried out.
“I would reiterate that the decision to charge has already been agreed and that we are in regular contact with local traders. All interested parties will be notified well in advance of the implementation of any charging in car parks.”