SPECULATION that the Vale of Glamorgan Council could be set to introduce parking charges to Barry town centre has been met with concern by an opposition councillor.

Plaid Cymru leader on the Vale council, Cllr Ian Johnson, has warned the move could be adopted as part of new income generation plans agreed by cabinet last week.

In the plans, the Vale council have set out income generation targets of £50,000 for this financial year, followed by £550,000 and £500,000 over the following two years.

Cllr Johnson said the plans commit the council to ‘develop proposals for the implementation of car parking charges across the Vale’ this financial year.

Plans under the previous administration to introduce charges at car parks in Barry town centre were blocked last year, after traders raised concerns the move would harm local business.

Cllr Johnson said: “I am very concerned to see that car parking charges are back on the Vale Council’s agenda.

“Studies have shown town centre car parking charges in Barry would raise just £70,000 for the council, which is peanuts in the context of the council’s £350m budget. On the other hand, it puts the viability of shopping in Barry’s Holton Road under threat.

“The Vale Council should rule out town centre charging for the lifetime of this council.”

Vale council leader, Cllr John Thomas, hit back at Cllr Johnson over the claims, but acknowledged charges were being examined.

“The strategy makes reference to a range of options which will all need careful consideration, particularly in the context of the reductions in the settlement afforded to this council by Welsh Government. It is only right that we consider our approach to the management of car parking across the Vale. We will do this in a comprehensive way and engage with all those with an interest in the issue prior to reaching any conclusions. This is the mature way to progress, basing our decisions on firm evidence and assessment rather than making unsubstantiated comments for political gain.”