COUNCILLORS have backed a proposal to charge for parking along the promenade in Aberystwyth to pay for two hours of free parking in three other towns.
During a meeting of the Thriving Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the majority of the councillors present were more concerned over the potential rejection of two hours free parking in Cardigan, Lampeter and Aberaeron than they were about charging to park along Aberystwyth’s promenade.
Cllr Carl Worrall from Penparcau did propose to the committee that a seasonal charge could be introduced as a way of compromise, but he did not receive backing, with Cllr Marc Davies from Ciliau Aeron adamant the charge should be all year round.
Cllr Davies said: “We have to face the issue of climate change.
“People travelling to Aberystwyth should use buses.
“Looking at the proposed charges, two hours of parking along the promenade could raise £1.2 million for services.
“We need to charge motorbikes that park on the promenade too.”
Cllr Endaf Edwards, whose ward covers the south end of the prom, said: “Several residents are concerned by these proposals.
“People who park on the promenade during the day tend to be those who work in town. People from outside the town who don’t want to pay for parking.
“People who park on the prom at night are the people who live in the town and can’t park on their street.
“We need to review parking in all of Aberystwyth.
“They (council officers) haven’t thought this through. We need residents parking. If other councils around Wales can implement it, why can’t Ceredigion?
“If you were to park on the prom with the new charges, it would cost £2,000 a year.”
Cllr Carl Worrall from Penparcau was against the proposal, saying the proposal was ‘so unfair’ and describing it as a ‘tax on the people of Aberystwyth.’
Aberystwyth county councillor Alun Williams, who backed the proposal to charge along the promenade, said: “This proposal needs to be taken in context and the knock-on impact charging will have on other parts of the town.
“There is less and less parking in Aberystwyth and we need to accept that people need to park.
“There is also the possibility of SPF (Shared prosperity fund) funding and a sea defence scheme in Aberystwyth. We need to make sure these things are considered.”
The report put before the committee suggested introducing parking charges on Aberystwyth promenade and to offer free parking in one car park in Aberaeron, Cardigan and Lampeter between 8am and 10am, which the report says, will cost between £78,000 and £85,000.
Cllr Rhodri Evans from Llangeitho, said, in order to cover that loss and to boost funding for the council “We need to get that money from Aberystwyth”.
He added: “Aberystwyth we have to remember has free parking elsewhere. The money has to come from somewhere and Aberystwyth would have to be that place to make up the shortfall.”
Cllr Keith Evans from Llandysul, which already has a scheme that offers two hours free parking, said: “Llandysul is subsidising other towns. Bring back services and we will be happy to pay for parking.
“In Aberystwyth, you have four hours of free parking and it is one of the most prosperous towns in mid Wales.
“Llandysul is the forgotten town in Ceredigion.
“People in Aberystwyth can catch a bus into town. I would make the argument, what does a bus look like in Llandysul?”
Cllr Elizabeth Evans in Aberaeron called on the council to have more direction and to have a clear strategy for the local economy and town centres across the county.
A majority of councillors voted in favour of looking at options of charging throughout the year along Aberystwyth’s promenade.
Speaking after the meeting, a frustrated Cllr Worrall said: “Aber is being run down by the people who should be looking after it.”