Column in the Barry & District News by Alun Cairns MP:
The issue of parking charges is once again being considered by the Vale Council leadership.
Readers will recall that each and every time we have successfully fought of the threat of car parking charges, here in Barry. We all know that parking charges will kill the shopping areas.
There are so many examples across Wales and the rest of the country where the adoption of charges has led to the closure of shops. There are also examples where charges are suspended or scrapped, there has been a boost to trade.
Past council papers have also shown that the cost of erecting charging machines takes years to pay back – so why is it being considered? This would be the most unpopular policy, should the council choose to introduce it.
If they do, I assume there will also be parking charges at the council office car park? After all, if everyone else has to pay, why should the councillors who voted for it be let off? Their car park would be ideal for wider use to support the bottom end of Holton Road.
Another consequence would be the effect to push cars away from car parks on to side streets. I already receive calls about the difficulty residents near Holton Road, High Street and Broad Street experience to park their cars near their home. This is already the case on Barry Island.
I am sure that the excuse they will use will be about funding. First, it takes several years to pay back the cost of introducing the payment machines. Secondly, I secured a deal from the Treasury that means Wales receives £120 for every £100 spent in England. If the Vale are short of cash, this suggests that the Welsh Government are short changing the Vale. I want to work with the Council on a joint campaign, along with AMs to get us a better deal from Cardiff Bay.
There is a way to get a better deal - but we need to work together. I am always keen to do so.