Vale MP Alun Cairns has once again stated his opposition to the introduction of parking charges by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, following the announcement of their proposed parking policy.
The Vale Council confirmed that they are planning to introduce parking charges across the Vale. This includes car parks in Barry, Cowbridge and Llantwit Major and in coastal resorts like Barry Island.
Mr Cairns, who campaigned against Labour’s parking proposals four years ago, argues that the case against parking charges remains the same. Campaigners against the plans argue that the economic cost outweighs the potential gains through revenue to the local authority. They say that any charges will hurt business and that, with a significant outlay expected to install the machines, the charges wouldn’t bring in enough revenues to justify the economic costs.
There are also significant fears that charges will represent the thin end of the wedge as opponents expect that within a few years the charges will increase and cover more areas. Mr Cairns has said that charges should not be introduced as a method of raising revenue and that protecting the local economy should be the Council’s priority. He argues that the Council would need to demonstrate that charges would be limited to specific areas where there needs to be a greater turnover to support businesses, with a period of free parking included.
The Vale MP said, “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 which doesn’t compare to the generous funding received by our neighbours in RCT, Bridgend and Cardiff.”
Mr Cairns added, “We’re fortunate in the Vale to have excellent independent traders in Cowbridge, Barry and Llantwit Major that make a fantastic contribution to our local economy, attracting people to the area and creating jobs. However, they will suffer most from parking charges. They are already competing with the internet and out of town shopping, if people are charged to park when supporting local business they will be forced elsewhere. I’m also worried about the impact on Barry Island, which has been thriving in recent years. I will continue to strongly argue the case that these proposals should be scrapped. If any charges are to be enforced, they need to be proven to serve a specific purpose of encouraging turnover for local businesses.”