RSPB WIN PARKING APPEAL
Planning inspector overturns refusal for controversial meters at South Stack reserve:
THE planning inspectorate has overturned a council’s decision to refuse plans for pay and display parking meters at a popular beauty spot.
In June, Anglesey council’s planning committee turned down bids by the RSPB to install the controversial meters at Elin’s Tower and the visitor’s centre car parks at South Stack near Holyhead.
Planning officers recommended plans should be approved, but elected members turned them down amid concerns over the residual impact on the area due to motorists parking on narrow country lanes to avoid paying the charges.
But the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of the charity after the RSPB lodged an appeal.
The authority could now be forced to pay significant costs to the RSPB after failing to persuade Government-appointed inspectors.
According to Kay Sheffield, who was appointed to carry out the investigation for Welsh Government ministers, Anglesey Council had failed to demonstrate the harm to highway safety that would arise from the proposed installation of parking meters, on South Stack Road.
Her summing up, notes: “In its evidence in respect of the appeals, the council did not address its concerns regarding the siting of the parking meters and signage but focussed on the potential effect charging for parking might have on the use of the car parks.
“Whilst it claimed the area already suffers from significant traffic congestion, there is no substantive evidence to confirm that the proposed installation of parking meters and associated signage would result in an unacceptable increase in parking on South Stack Road.
“I, therefore, conclude that the council has behaved unreasonably having regard to the advice contained in the Annex and an award of costs is justified.”
In response, an Isle of Anglesey County Council spokesperson said: “We will carefully consider the inspector’s findings.”
An RSPB spokesperson said: “RSPB Cymru welcomes the decision by the Planning Inspectorate to permit the installation of ticket machines at our South Stack Cliffs nature reserve.
“We know our decision to introduce charges for vehicle owners who are not RSPB members has caused concern, and during the summer we announced significant changes to our original proposals including a trial concession rate for Anglesey residents.
“We have continued to listen to concerns, and will make a further announcement about our plans once Isle of Anglesey council has determined a separate application to renovate part of the Visitor Centre.”
The planning inspectorate has overturned the council’s decision to refuse parking meters at South Stack in Anglesey Picture: