Tuesday 17 June 2014

Parking charges

Golwg360 reports on a packed public meeting organised by Plaid's six county councillors in Carmarthen to discuss plans by the County Council to introduce charges for Sunday parking, and to extend parking charges to 9 o'clock in the evening in the town's main car parks.

Speakers argued that this would damage struggling small businesses, and others described the Sunday charges as a "tax on religious belief".

This is not the first time the county council has tried to go down this route. Back in 2009 an attempt to introduce charges for Sunday parking was eventually dropped in the face of protests, and the council has established something of a track record when it comes to refusing to accept defeat - the Llanelli care homes closures being another case in point.

It is not just Carmarthen which is feeling the squeeze either, but all of the towns in the county. A quick trip over the border to Pembrokeshire will show a very different attitude to town centre parking charges.

Back in 2009 the council argued that introducing charges for Sunday parking was needed to create a level playing field for the multi-storey car park which serves the St Catherine's Walk shopping centre. And as the Western Mail article shows, the council was also arguing that if it didn't get the additional money, council tax might have to rise.

The courts have since ruled that it is illegal for councils to use parking charges in order to raise revenue, and we also know that the council's car parks are highly profitable. So where is the money going? There is little sign that it is being ploughed back into parking facilities in many parts of the county. In Newcastle Emlyn, for example, the council shut the car park toilets to save money even though they could very easily have been kept open with profits from parking charges.

Part of the answer could lie with the East Gate development in Llanelli where the council is reported to be forking out £100,000 a year in rent for the car park, with shoppers in Carmarthen and elsewhere helping to foot the bill.


Anonymous said...

Across the boundary in Ceredigion, parking in Lampeter's car park is currently FREE. I am changing the habit of over a quarter of a century and am visiting Lampeter instead of Llandovery or Llandeilo. In those towns,in addition to needing the correct change, you have to keep checking the time to make sure you return to the vehicle before a fine is slapped on it. Small irritations maybe, but irritations all the same

passerby said...

car parking revenue goes to erm trnsport.. and erm carpark maintaining. then again most town car parks haven't seen a lick of paint in eons, one could wonder just how much goes on transport.

all that needs to be done is calculate the cost of a car park, length of life of surface, wear&tear factor, stable and sporadic movement of vehicles blah blah blah and it won't be suprising if the true cost of parking is around 30p an hour.

then again i'm still pretty peeved being charged a fiver in central london 1990 for 2 hours.
robbin gets

The better the surface, the longer it lasts. the longer it lasts, the cheaper it gets..in theory

i doubt if nobody will analyse just what's been going on, wouldn't want to risk upsetting the drivers.

Anonymous said...

Nice deflection there but what you mean is Cllr Hazel Evans (Plaid) allowed the council to shut the car park toilets to save money even though they could very easily have been kept open with profits from parking charges>:-(
I voted for her and probably will again given the competition but I wish she'd grow a pair.
Also, you'll know! I was given to understand the Welsh Government was going to pass a law insisting that councils provide public conveniences for towns the size of Newcastle Emlyn.
When is this going to be implemented if it hasn't been already?

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@00.00 Hazel worked really hard to try to prevent the closure, but the policy was implemented by the ruling Labour/Independent coalition (which she is not a part of).

m1books said...

Local town and community councils can find out the revenue for individual car parks and it is huge amounts of money. Very little is put back into maintenance so where does it go? To make matters worse a CCC Traffic Order on car parking charges recently went out for 'consultation'. Few organisations caught up with this until the time was almost up. It is on the CCC website but not the detailed content, in which is apparently lurking the proposal to now charge blue badge holders. A disgraceful further financial burden on people who can least afford it. Maybe these residents should take to parking on double yellow lines where ever they like for their legal time limit - that should cause a bit of hassle in the high streets...

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

Since we're on the subject of toilets, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth Community Council is faced with the ridiculous ask of funding three sets of public conveniences: Alltwalis (busy with motorists on the Lampeter-Carmarthen route), Pont-tyweli (i.e. Llandysul South) and Pencader (the central village).

You can but imagine the increased precept to keep all those WCs flushing.

Anonymous said...

(Ms. zero hundred hours exactly)
I don't know the history of public toilets (it would make an interesting programme on R4) but I assumed they were brought about in in Victorian times with the increased knowledge of disease & contagion ..... thereby the provision of public toilets to keep alleyways/doorways/behind walls in peoples gardens/ etc etc sanitary.
When you've gotta go -you've gotta go! It's a basis human function, everybody pees' & poos'. If the council can fund bowling alleys & the like, it's a no-brainer that they can also fund public toilets.
Re Hazel Evans & the closure of the public loo's in the bustling Market town of Emlyn. If she wasn't being heard then personally I would have righteously wee'd on the plush carpet right outside the chief executive's door to demonstrate the point.
I hope she reads this and takes belated action on behalf the townsfolk & visitors or Emlyn. I'll even buy her a she-wee :-)

ps: Sorry to be off topic, the parking charges are totally blood-boilingly outrageous. Nothing sadder than 'I'd love to chat but have to get back for the car park'. It, ummm, has had a detrimental impact on the cultural & social cohesion of the town & wider community, and I utterly resent CCC for that as much as the impact on trade/small local family run businesses ESPECIALLY when they swan around with their own free car park paid for by US -when they are on wages we can only dream of with a lottery win! >:-( grrrrrr.
Rant over :-D

Redhead said...

Yes, we have been battling for years here in the UK to force our officers and councillors to pay the same as we do in the same area to park in their magnificent private car park at their HQ (perhaps tthat's where the money goes) - thrown out, of course. We reckon the area loses £50,000 a year from it.

Pickles says they should pay. When he gets at us they do his bidding, but on this one they ignore him - strange that!