Mixed reaction in Neath Port Talbot to Christmas parking deal
FREE Christmas parking in only short stay car parks in Neath Port Talbot, has received a mixed reaction from traders.
Yesterday, members of the council’s Environment and Highways Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet Board, agreed to the proposals, which will run from December 14 to Christmas Eve, and from 10.30am each day.
But charges will still apply to Council-run long stay car parks in Neath, Port Talbot and Pontardawe - which includes Milland Road, Station Road and the By Pass car parks.
Parking manager, Steve Cook, said: "Last year, the authority granted limited free parking for one week prior to Christmas.
"It should be noted that parking charges will still apply between 8am and 10.30am.
"Temporary signage will be fixed to the tariff boards in the short stay car parks indicating the free car parking arrangements."
He added that there would be a potential loss of income of around £15,000 for the car parks — but that this loss had been absorbed by the consolidated parking management account.
Reacting to the news, Andy Lodwig, president of Neath’s Chamber of Trade, said: "It’s good news that they are actually showing some good will for the customers of Neath, who can at least have somewhere to park for free for a certain time."
But traders in Port Talbot were not as pleased at the news.
Steve Garvey, president of the town’s Chamber, said: "The Chamber is incredibly disappointed, not just for the traders, but also for the people and shoppers of Port Talbot.
"It has been a substantial help in the run up to Christmas, to enable us to compete with out of town shopping complexes."
He said though the short stay car parks would continue to help bring shoppers in, workers would be badly affected by the timings and lack of long stay parking.
A spokesman for Carmarthenshire Council said a policy was adopted in April, which allows towns across the county to identify five days themselves for free parking.
"So far the only request for Christmas has come from Llandeilo for their Festival of Senses from November 22 to 23," he said.
"Community councils and organisations have got to give a month’s notice to organise the necessary publication and publicity of any free parking offer."
A spokesman for Swansea Council added that it had a number of schemes to help traders this festive season.
It will offer £1 parking in the Quadrant and St David’s car parks after 5.30pm on Thursdays to complement late-night shopping, while free car parking will also be Sundays in all council car parks. NCP car parks will also provide £1 for three hours thanks to the Swansea BID scheme.
"Other schemes to encourage Christmas shoppers into the city centre include the city centre loyalty card scheme, Waterfront Winterland, the annual Christmas Parade and the Christmas Market on Oxford Street," he added.
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