TRADERS and Barry Island councillors are urging the council to drop parking charges plans, which they claim would have a dramatic impact on visitors all-year-round.

Around 38 Island businesses have made statements which Beach Hut owner Louis Ross intends raising at the Vale council’s scrutiny meeting on Thursday, April 4.

Mr Ross has collected more than 2,500 signatures on a petition to be presented to councillors which say the charges are “unfair” and “short-sighted”.

But the Vale council said a study undertaken by Consultants MRUK for Welsh Government suggests the availability of car parking is more important to those looking to park than parking costs.

Whitmore + Jackson business owner David Lewis said: “This is very short-sighted. It shows little understanding of how Barry Island works.”

Mr Lewis said he and his fellow traders relied on the local residents visiting all-year-round and they would be put-off by charges of up to £10. Volunteers, dog walkers, people visiting to improve both physical and mental health, as well as tourists would all suffer.

People would not have time or money to buy on the Island, jobs would be lost, and secondary local suppliers would also lose out through a fall in business, he said.

Coffee Cove owner Alex Davies added: “The danger is that they would turn the Island into a seasonal resort. We are going to lose a lot of staff. I can’t afford to operate for only six months, lay off staff, and retrain every six months. It would ruin my business.” Barry Island Quasar owner said the Nell’s Point and Harbour Road car parks had up to 1500 spaces – generating a £385k income – with £85k cited as profit.

A Vale council spokesman said: “The council has consulted widely on its car parking strategy. Numerous well-attended events were held, including two in Barry, where people had an opportunity to share their views, while there was also an opportunity to submit them online or over the phone. All of these opinions have been given full consideration as part of the decision-making process. The various proposed parking charge rates have been determined after research carried out by the consultancy firm used to develop the policy, are in line with industry standards and have been amended following consultation. All income received will be used to support car parks, the provision of road improvement services and public transport.”