Visitors Staying Away From Country Parks Because Of Car Park Charges, say Plaid Cymru

06/03/2020

Car parking charges brought in nearly six years ago are driving visitors away, say Plaid Cymru.

A Freedom of Information  request by Plaid Cymru has revealed income from charges is almost £40,000 lower than the £85,000 forecast when pay and display charges were introduced nearly six years ago.

Figures revealed that income in the first nine months of the financial year was £45,317 with little income likely in January, February and March, say Plaid Cymru. This compares to £58,983 in 2018-19.

The response from Caerphilly council revealed that in the  current financial year vandalism of parking machines totalled £7,364, with 89 fines issued.

Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said: “Everyone is being encouraged to keep fit, walk more, yet Caerphilly Council continues to put obstacles in the way of the public.

“When this scheme was first mooted the forecast  income was £85,000 in 2014. But it has fallen well short – only £45,317 in the first nine months of this financial year. This charging regime has driven residents and their families away.

“We need the Labour council to review the impact of their charging policy and consider whether it should be changed.”

South Wales East Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell, who is standing in Caerphilly at next year’s Senedd elections said: “It’s clear that charging people to visit county parks has failed as a policy and that Caerphilly Council should consider scrapping these fees.

“Public policy should be considered in the round – if we want more people to visit parks and stay active in order to boost public health, it simply makes no sense to charge people to do so.

“We have some of the most wonderful country parks in Wales and people should be encouraged to visit them, not driven away by unnecessary parking charges.”

Parking charges apply at the following country parks:Parc Cwm Darren, Parc Penallta, Sirhowy Valley Country Park, Pen-y-Fan Pond, Bargoed Woodland Park as well as Cwmcarn Forest.