THE Vale Council has defended car parking charges at a Barry beauty spot, following a public complaint.

The authority said charging motorists wanting to use Porthkerry Park’s main car park, which is not served by public transport, was reasonable.

Cadoxton resident, Ceri Rowlands said attendants had asked for £2.50 and vehicle users had driven away.

He said: “They’ve just put my rates up and spent nearly £55,000 on chairs. I said ‘I’m not paying that’ and went up to the other car park.”

Vale Council director of development services, Rob Thomas said: “Porthkerry Park provides a variety of recreational opportunities as well as the café. The charge allows us to manage car parking and traffic flows to and from Porthkerry and by doing so protect the attractiveness of a valued country park as well as the health and safety of visitors. It is regrettable if some visitors will not pay what is a very reasonable parking charge.”

Meanwhile, Vale-based South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies expressed concern over the sums generated by Welsh councils from parking charges – saying treating parking as a “cash cow” would harm local high streets.

The Vale was Wales’ second lowest earner from parking charges, generating £318,000 compared to high earning Cardiff which raised £6.2 million.

He said: “Charging motorists to park should be part of a package of measures employed by councils to tackle congestion or to ease the issue of dangerous parking.

“I appreciate that some of the money collected through charges will be used to improve facilities or to pay for services, but prohibitive prices can have a damaging impact upon local high streets – particularly given the emerging trend for out of town shopping centres with free parking.

“This may be less of an issue in city-centres like Cardiff but for high streets like Barry and Cowbridge the availability of reasonably priced parking is essential, especially when public transport connections are often poor.”

Mr Davies said he was “pleased that the Vale of Glamorgan council had so far resisted the opportunity to treat parking as a cash cow; a move that would harm local high streets and the wider Vale economy.”