Drivers may be charged for getting locked in car parks
A SOUTH Wales council is undertaking a major review of its car parks with plans to increase charges in some areas, introduce residents’ permit parking and install electric charging points for vehicles.
The changes, many of which will be subject to a public consultation before being implemented, also involve charging car owners who arrive after car parks have been locked at night, and charging contractors for temporary permits while building work is being undertaken in Bridgend town centre.
Bridgend council is responsible for 28 off-street car parks, of which 10 are run as pay and display. It is looking at passing responsibility for the 18 non-chargeable car parks to town and community councils via community asset transfers.
Hourly rates in car parks across Bridgend could increase under the plans. The council wants to charge more for the first hour in some areas while bringing down the cost, or keeping it the same, for long-stay parking.
It says the increase to the short stay tariff will “simplify” the parking tariffs for users, while a reduction in the long stay tariff will help encourage visitors to stay longer.
The plans which will go out to consultation also include restricted parking times along Porthcawl seafront and new charges for Rest Bay Car Park.
Under the plans, anyone returning late to a council-run car park in Bridgend to find their car has been locked inside could soon be faced with a bill for the call-out charge.
Bridgend council says each call-out costs £40 plus VAT meaning it costs the council about £4,320 every year.
The plans could also lead to the introduction of residents’ parking permits and temporary contractor permits.
In 2014, cabinet members approved the permit tariff charge of £20 which would cover the annual administration costs.
Corporate director for communities Mark Shepherd told councillors issues had now been solved but due to the amount of time since the first consultation, another consultation was now necessary.
A consultation exercise in Porthcawl which was carried out at the same time as the one in Bridgend met with insufficient support from the majority of residents to progress the scheme forward to a formal consultation.
With regard to temporary permits, contractors requiring a permit to park their vehicle on a street in Bridgend town centre while planned works are being carried out to a building may soon have to pay for it.
The permits, called dispensation notices, give permission to park while planned works are undertaken at premises which are next to parking restrictions, in restricted zones or in residential parking zones.
In some circumstances, permission may be granted to wait on yellow lines, loading bays or in pedestrian zones.
The permits are cur- rently granted free of charge but the council is now looking at introducing a charge of £10 per day.
Elsewhere, two electric car charging points will be installed in a Bridgend car park if funding grant bids are successful.
The machines which can charge two cars each will be placed on the ground floor of the Rhiw car park.
There are currently no charging points within Bridgend County Borough Council’s car parks.
The machines are expected to cost a total of about £20,000 and will only be installed if funding can be achieved.
Bridgend council is undertaking a major review of its car parks