A consultation will have to be held with the residents of Aberystwyth over plans to introduce parking on the town’s promenade in a bid to boost council coffers, a meeting has heard, but the decision may have already been made.

The plan is earmarked to raise £400,000 in income, and has been included in the draft budget.

Scrutiny committee members heard that because the income has already been included in the draft budget, that responses to the consultation are therefore unlikely to stop the plan from going ahead.

Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management Cllr Keith Henson admitted the consultation with residents will be “challenging.”

Cllr Ifan Davies said that introducing car parking charges on the Promenade given the current financial situation is a “no-brainer.”

Finance director Duncan Hall said the £400,000 figure does not assume the charges come in on 1 April, but is a “part-year” figure, and it will be introduced during 2024/25 if signed off.

New Penparcau councillor Shelley Childs said that parking on the promenade was one of the main topics of discussion on the doorsteps.

“Three out of 10 households were concerned about it and it’s very contentious,” he told scrutiny committee members.

“Aberystwyth is the jewel in the crown and parking charges could affect business.

“Residents already struggle to find somewhere to park.

“Just to warn everyone that people will not be happy.”

Aberaeron councillor Elizabeth Evans said that charging for parking on the Promenade is “not an ideal situation” she had “difficulty sympathising”, saying that “yes, Aberystwyth promenade is a jewel in the crown, but we are all jewels and are interdependent.”

Cllr Evans said that removing the park and ride several years ago has had a huge impact on parking in Aberystwyth.

Plans have also been lodged to turn the former Arriva bus depot into a car park, which members heard would help “alleviate any problems.”

Aberystwyth councillor Endaf Edwards said that a consultation on this will be “very difficult”.

“What are the people who live and work on the prom going to do?

“They don’t have an alternative.

“Parking is in short supply, and any charges will have a knock on effect.”

Cllr Carl Worrall said he was “very disappointed” that the issue had been raised again and called for the council to look at residents parking permits and free parking for disabled bays.

Aberystwyth County Councillor Alun Williams said that if “Aberystwyth employees have to suddenly pay hundreds of pounds a year to park” it would be a “huge slice of their wages.”

“That has to be considered,” he said.

“Any changes of this nature have to be considered in an overall review in Aberystwyth as a whole.”

Committee members heard that £250,000 has been set aside for redeveloping the Arriva car park and purchasing machines and infrastructure for the promenade to allow charging to begin.

Cllr Henson, who said that parking is one of the more emotive issues the council deals with, added that the council needs to look at car parking charges “across the county”, with a review set to take place after an interim blanket 10 per cent car parking charges rise comes in from April.

That review, which will see fees rise again, is budgeted to bring in an extra £125,000 county-wide.