Ceredigion County Council wants to charge £5 for parking on Aberystwyth promenade to “deter commuters” despite vehement opposition from residents and businesses.

The idea for charging for parking on Aberystwyth’s seafront had been proposed by the council’s Thriving Communities Scrutiny Committee as part of a package of parking measures for towns across the county.

The plans received backlash from residents, councillors and businesses.

Despite the opposition, the council has moved forward with the plans as part of efforts to plug a financial blackhole in the authority’s finances.

The scheme is earmarked to raise £400,000 for council coffers this year, despite not having yet got the go ahead nor gone out to public consultation.

In a report set to be put before members of the council’s Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 11 July, the council says that charging will be introduced along the length of New Promenade from Castle Point to Constitution Hill between 8am and 8pm seven days a week.

The proposed rates are £3.50 for two hours, and £5 for four hours.

The changes will see 179 car parking spaces become chargeable along the promenade.

The council’s own report into the plans warned there would be “considerable opposition” from residents and business owners and could discourage visitors.

A report into the proposal was noted by Cabinet members at the end of last year but was not progressed.

Faced with having to fund millions of pounds to balance its budget for 2024/25, however, a draft budget report recommended that “proposals for charging on the promenade be “brought forward as soon as is practically possible.”

Currently, motorists can park on the promenade for between two and four hours for free, depending where on the seafront they park.

Start-up costs, including new ticket machines, signs, and bay painting could reach £150,000, with the plan also coming with increased staff costs as “the impact on Parking Services of introducing charges on Aberystwyth sea front could be considerable.”

Ceredigion County Council first floated the idea of charging for parking on Aberystwyth promenade back in 2014 when it commissioned a report from Capita which was released in 2016.

That report suggested that charging for parking along the promenade would be a net positive for the town.

The report to be put before committee members said: “Parking must be available in the right places and for the right purposes.

“The section of Aberystwyth seafront which is the subject of this proposed scheme is considered to be a ‘premium’, high demand location due to its proximity to both the town centre and being situated along the seafront.

“It is anticipated that charges will act as a deterrent to commuter and long-term parking related traffic from circulating the seafront in search of available free spaces and, encourage them to seek more appropriate off street parking provision to meet their parking needs.”

The changes, if approved by Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet will require the making of a Traffic Regulation Order and a “full public consultation.”