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Print Posted by RCT Business Hub on 01/13/2017

Cheaper car parking charges in five RCT towns is looking likely

Cheaper car parking charges in five RCT towns is looking likely

Cheaper car park charges in five Rhondda Cynon Taff towns are likely to be introduced after more than 70% of people agreed to them.

RCT council has revealed the results of its consultation into reducing parking charges in Aberdare , Mountain Ash, Pontypridd , Porth and Tonypandy - during which 500 people responded.

How much could parking be reduced by?

The changes apply to the council-owned car parks, and 50p short stays of one hour (down from 75p) and £1 two-hour stays (from £1.50) could be introduced.

Long stays (£2.50 to £2), monthly permits (£37.50 to £20) and annual permits (£375 to £200) could also be reduced, along with all-day Saturday parking (£2.50 to £1).

The consultation - which ran for six weeks during November and December - saw more than 70% of people agree with the changes for daily charges and season tickets, while 80% agreed with the new Saturday charge.

Aberdare town centre

In total, 95% of people supported free December parking, while 85% said free parking throughout December should be made available annually by the council.

The introduction of card and debit payments, including a contactless option, "featured strongly" in the responses.

RCT's cabinet members will discuss the changes at a meeting on Wednesday, January 18 - and they have been recommended for approval in a report by Nigel Wheeler, RCT's director for highways and streetcare services.

The report says: "The proposed new tariffs... reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of consultees who called for a reduction in car parking charges in order to help boost town centre footfall and business, including key trader’s groups such as Your Pontypridd and the Aberdare Business and Tourism Association.

"It should be noted that by removing the four hours-plus tariff from the short stay car parks, this will mean that, in effect, all short-stay car parks will have a maximum parking period of four hours, a view supported by the majority of consultees."

Mountain Ash town centre

Referring to the Christmas parking charges, it adds: "Whilst a very large proportion of respondents emphasised the need for the initiative to stay in place for the whole month of December, there was far less consensus regarding its hours of operation.

"As a result, at the present time, and unless a new, firm consensus becomes apparent... it is advised to retain the existing hours of operation - from 10am."

But some people want to see free parking

The report adds: "Of those consultees who disagreed with the new proposed charges, the main reasoning given was a belief that town centre car parking should be free in its entirety in order to assist struggling town centres.

"This message came across particularly strongly with respect to some smaller town centres that have pay and display car parks, namely Mountain Ash, Porth and Tonypandy.

"There were also a large number of comments received that advocated the idea of making the first hour or two of a car park stay free, with charges then being implemented after that time period had expired."

And regarding different methods of payment, the director wrote: "Because of the council’s low daily car parking charges, the costs to the council of introducing card payment facilities, would not, in all likelihood, be financially practical at this time.

Tonypandy town centre

"Nevertheless, further research into this aspect, in order to obtain a more complete picture, is required."

Any changes agreed would require a 21-day public notice period before they can come into force.

The changes would reduce the income from car park charges by an estimated £300,000 a year - but the council says this could be less if more people use the car parks because they are cheaper.

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