PLANS to potentially introduce parking charges throughout the Vale have been met with grave concern from shop owners and councillors in Barry

The Vale council has approved plans to launch a consultation on the plans to introduce the charges.

Town and community councils will be asked for their views while a public consultation will begin on August 6.

The Capita report proposes parking charges for town centres, coastal locations, country parks, and on street, and recommends the introduction of residential parking permits.

Previous consultations took place in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017, but the recommendations were ultimately scrapped.

The council has stated it needs to make £17m of savings over the next three years with the neighbourhood services and transport division needing to make £827k of savings in 2018/19 alone. Maintenance and regulation of parking spaces costs the council £360,000 per year.

Holton Road Traders Association chairman Dave Elliott said: “I am a feeling a lack of support in these difficult times.

“The council tried three years ago to bring charges in and the Vale of Glamorgan stood together and unanimously voted no. We don’t want it and it would harm town centres.

“We want to attract shopper not force them to Cardiff.”

High Street Traders Association chairman, Anthony Hopkins added similar concerns.

“They will eventually drive everyone to supermarkets,” he said.

Politicians have also expressed their concerns.

Buttrills councillor Ian Johnson said he and his fellow Plaid Cymru town centre councillor Millie Collins would not support proposals for residents having to pay for parking permits to park on their own street.

He said: “I am also concerned that charging for car parking spaces will have a negative economic impact upon Barry town centre, which is already facing a tough time.

“Keeping the first hour or two free hopefully won’t affect the number of people using the town centre for shopping, but this may mean that some shoppers won’t stay and sit down for that extra coffee and chat, or won’t go to new shops.

“Barry Island needs a better solution to increase parking capacity. In the past, Plaid Cymru local councillors Steffan Wiliam and Nic Hodges have asked the council to consider a multi-storey car park and also resident parking on some streets there. This would be beneficial for the future needs of both residents and visitors.”

Barry Town Council Shop Local chairwoman, Cllr Sandra Perkes said: “I encourage all businesses and residents in Barry to read the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s proposed parking strategy and participate in the consultation so we can ensure that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is aware of the public’s thoughts and opinions on this important matter before a decision is made to implement the policy or not.”

Vale MP Alun Cairns said: “It is important locals make their views known and I will be encouraging responses from the wider community, including local traders.

“Some have spoken positively in that £1 for three hours will encourage turnover of shoppers but others are naturally concerned that it will drive people to out of town retail parks.”

And Vale AM Jane Hutt said she was concerned the draft parking strategy made no reference to disabled parking spaces, either to confirm they will remain free, or of any plan to increase the number of spaces or to improve their location.

“I have written to the council on this matter and have also raised concerns about the potential impact of the draft strategy on residents and businesses, that have been raised with me by constituents,” she said.

Holton Road traders met on Wednesday, July 11 with the parking proposals firmly on the agenda.