A series of changes to free car parking arrangements over the Christmas period, current car parking charges, parking permit charges and the introduction of a parking charging regime along the Aberavon Seafront have been agreed by Neath Port Talbot councillors.
The new fees and charges seek to address the outstanding maintenance issues faced by the council’s car parks and to reduce severe budget pressures within the council’s parking services.
Members of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Environment, Regeneration and Streetscene Cabinet Board agreed the changes at their meeting on Thursday September 14th.
Details of the changes and the background issues can be viewed here: https://democracy.npt.gov.uk/documents/s92373/DWG%20Parking%20Review%20Final%20August%2023.pdf
Nicola Pearce, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Director of Environment and Regeneration, told the meeting: “We do not like to be in the position of having to increase parking charges but unfortunately because of the budget situation, this and other councils across Wales now find themselves in, I’m afraid this is a financial necessity.”
The director added that work was being undertaken with partner organisations to increase the attractiveness of town centres and other destinations within Neath Port Talbot and explained that the car parking changes would be reviewed within six months so “if they are proving to be ineffective, we can consider alternative proposals”.
An officers’ report to the Cabinet Board said: “The council’s car park income funds the maintenance upkeep of car parks to appropriate standards of safety, lighting and equality issues and security standards.
“The parking income account has spent £4m over five years running and maintaining the council car parks and car parking machines. £201,000 of this cost was for the purchase and maintenance of pay and display machines. In 2022/23, £127,400 has been spent so far on building maintenance in Port Talbot and Neath Multi Storey Car Parks (MSCPs) alone, while the income from parking across both car parks is just under £227,000
“There are outstanding maintenance issues that will require funding of around £750,000 based on the last condition survey to carry out concrete repairs, electrical repairs and painting in Port Talbot MSCP and a further £60,000 resurface St Mary’s Car Park in Port Talbot.”
Councillors accepted a recommendation that the traditional Christmas free parking in NPT town centres should end in favour of five “free parking days” for each town centre, the dates to be decided by traders.
Public consultations will be undertaken when the council formally advertises the proposed changes to the off-street car parking order and on-street traffic orders.
The Cabinet Board meeting heard that under the proposals Blue Badge holders would still be able to enjoy free parking within the on-street car parking bays on the Aberavon Seafront.
The cabinet’s decision is subject to a three day call-in period.