Statement by Alun Cairns MP provided for the Scrutiny Committee Meeting on Proposals for Parking Charges on Thursday 4th April 2019.
“Parking charges are not the right way forward to raise revenue for the local authority. Although, I fully appreciate the difficult situation the Vale Council finds itself in, given their very poor funding from the Welsh Labour Government.
Businesses in Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Barry, particularly on Barry Island, have worked hard with the local authority to build a destination for visitors, which attracts people and creates jobs. Unfortunately, local traders will suffer most from parking charges. This will impact local employment opportunities and potentially create a greater challenge to the Vale Authority to regenerate towns and communities across the Vale.
Excellent work has been done to regenerate communities across the Vale. Barry Island recently featured in the Department for International Trade’s prospectus for investment opportunities at a global summit. However, vacant shops will make it more difficult to attract investment – the uncertainty is already leading to shop owners not renewing leases.
Examples in other authorities show that car parking charges are damaging to business. In Cardigan, for example, when their parking metres were broken some of the local businesses recorded a massive boost in trade as high as 50%. You will also note that other authorities reduce or remove charges in the lead up to Christmas. There is clear evidence that parking charges undermine our high streets and communities.
In the strongest terms, I call on the Vale Council to scrap these proposals. If any charges are to be enforced, they need to be proven to serve a specific purpose of encouraging turnover for local businesses and the proposals in front of us do not do that.”