“Robbing us blind”, that’s how the owner of one café in Barry described it as the Vale Council look to increase rates on outdoor seating by almost double.

As part of the council’s proposed fees and charges for 2023/24, they are looking at increasing the cost for businesses to have outdoor seating on pavements by as much as £750 for the year.

Mandi Pidgeon and Kara Bennett, who run The Well Being Shop opposite King Square in the centre of Barry, said they could not believe what the council was proposing.

Well Being has a licence for two tables outside the shop – at a cost of £150. Under the new proposals that price will rise to £250.

“It’s gone from nothing to have tables outside, to £150 for two tables, now it’s going up for next year, then what?” said a furious Mandi Pigeon. “How can we afford this?”

Barry And District News:

Stuart Burnell owns Awesome Wales café on Holton Road. He has two tables outside his shop and explained elderly customers visit every day because they want something to do and they smoke so they want to sit outside.

When this charge comes in Stuart says they won’t be able to do that because he might not be able to afford the tables and chairs anymore.

Stuart was at a loss, saying traders on the street do not understand why the council are doing this.

“They are charging the equivalent of Cardiff city centre,” said Stuart. “Barry is not Cardiff no matter how much they want it to be.”

Barry And District News:

(Stuart at cafe Awesome Wales places two tables outside on Holton Road)

Barry And District News:

(Owners Mandi (left) and Kara say independent businesses need more support)

Earlier in the week Local Democracy Reporter Ted Peskett spoke to Gareth Saunders, a chef at the K9 Plus 1 Cafe on Friars Road, who feared for the future of his job because of the proposed changes.

“Rather than helping them out, they are crippling us with increasing costs,” said Gareth.

This sentiment was echoed by Kara Bennett back at The Well Being Shop. She said Barry will die if businesses don’t get the support they need.

“It does not affect big businesses, it affects the little businesses – the ones they want on the high street, independent businesses,” said Kara.

“We’re the ones who will bring people to the town. To the council I say support us otherwise there will be nothing left of Barry.”