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Public to be asked views on widespread changes to car parking

Residents and visitors are to be asked for their views on possible new parking restrictions along Porthcawl seafront, more flexible parking options at Rest Bay, and changes to car parking tariffs across Bridgend County Borough.

Cabinet Members from Bridgend County Borough Council have this week agreed a widespread review of local car parking, giving the go ahead for public consultation to be held this summer over many proposed changes.

In Porthcawl, opinions will be invited on the possible introduction of limited waiting along the seafront which would restrict cars to parking for a maximum of two hours, with no return within two hours. The restrictions would be in place 365 days a year between the hours of 8am to 6pm.

Explaining the thinking behind the idea, Councillor Richard Young, the council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “As we’re all aware, Porthcawl seafront can become extremely congested during peak times, so introducing limited waiting would help to ease that congestion and encourage greater use of the town’s car parks. It is also thought that this proposal would help local businesses as there would be a greater turnover of cars parking in the seafront spaces.

“The proposed scheme would operate along the seafront from the entrance to the fair ground on the Eastern Promenade, along the esplanade and West Drive to its junction with Mallard Way.”

The public will also be asked for their views on changes at Rest Bay which will offer visitors more choice and flexibility when parking there. At the moment, visitors only have the option of paying £1 to park for up to one hour during the summer months or paying £2.80 to park all day.

New charges are being suggested so that visitors can choose between paying £1 to park for up to one hour, £2 for one to two hours, £3 for between two and three hours, or paying £4 to park all day.

There would be no alterations to the tariff in winter months (start of October to the end of March) where it would remain at £1 for all day.

As 22 pay and display machines across the county borough need to be upgraded to become bilingual to comply with the Welsh Language Standards, Cabinet Members confirmed that they will take the opportunity to ensure that all of the replacement machines accept card payments.

Sixty per cent of the parking payments at the new Rhiw car park in Bridgend are made by card, and it is likely that a cashless option would also be very popular in many other car parks as people often struggle to have loose change available.

Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities

Cabinet Members have also agreed public consultation over possible changes at short stay car parks in Porthcawl and Bridgend to provide more of an encouragement for visitors to stay in town longer. The suggestion is that anyone parking for very short periods of time such as half an hour will pay slightly more (up from 30p to 50p) but anyone parking for longer will pay less (e.g. anyone parking for between three and four hours will pay £2.50 instead of £4).

Views will also be gathered on raising the cost of parking at long stay car parks so that it costs £1 to park for up to an hour rather than 70p. Full details of how residents can have their say on each of these proposals will be publicised soon.

Councillor Young added: “It is vital to point out that car parking charges need to cover operational costs and we are not allowed to increase fees to raise general funds. At present, we are subsidising parking services so we need to take some form of action to reduce that deficit and we’ll take all of the views gathered via public consultation into account.”

As part of the car parking review, Cabinet Members also gave their approval for all of the Bowls car park and Tremains car park spaces in Bridgend to convert into long stay spaces, while the cost of parking permits for council staff and elected members will rise, and a pilot scheme will introduce two charging points for electric cars at the Rhiw car park in Bridgend.

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