TOWN centre car parking charges in the Vale of Glamorgan have been put on hold for another year.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s U-turn comes after three years of uncertainty and lengthy debate between councillors and local traders.
In the council budget, passed last Wednesday, it became clear that they would not be chasing “savings” by introducing car-parking charges in Barry and Cowbridge.
The council had hoped to introduce parking fees at five town centre car parks by April 2016.
Motorists would have had to pay between £1 and £5 at car parks on Kendrick Road, Thompson Street and Wyndham Street in Barry, as well as the Butts and Town Hall car parks in Cowbridge.
Council Leader Neil Moore said: “The introduction of town centre car parking charges had been proposed as one of the ways of finding the £18 million of savings required over the next two years.
“However, during October and November 2015, senior managers and the cabinet members responsible for visible services and regeneration met with local traders in Barry and Cowbridge to discuss the impact that the introduction of charges could have.
“Following this consultation it is being reconsidered whether or not the introduction of car parking charges in Barry and Cowbridge town centres is the best way of maintaining the two towns’ car parks.
“Maintaining car parks across the Vale of Glamorgan costs the Council around £350,000 each year. While it should be stressed that no decision to implement car parking charges has ever been taken, we have listened to local traders and are now looking for alternative solutions to meeting this cost in the future.”
This announcement has been met with joy by many, especially by local traders who were “dead set against the charges,” said Dave Elliott, managing director of TL Computer Systems Wales on Holton Road.
Councillor Ian Johnson, who has long campaigned against the introduction of the charges, said: “I am pleased that there now seems no intention of introducing car park charges in Barry and Cowbridge this year.
“The Vale Council is there to support the needs of the local community, and part of those needs are to support thriving town centres, not put them at risk.”
Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns is also celebrating the news. He is now calling on the council to deliver a car parking capacity scheme across the Vale rather than charging for spaces in town centres.