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Ceredigion Car Parking Charges Annoying Visitors

07 Jun

Ceredigion car parking continues to be a problem.  Follows is an email I received, which I’ve shown in full as I’ve permission to do so and also the Grumpy Old Geezer item the lady is referring to.

Good morning,

I am writing with reference to the ‘Grumpy Old Geezer’ article – page 52 of your January / February magazine.

We live in Shetland and had a month touring the Lake District, Wales and down to southern England during May.  I picked up a copy of your very interesting and attractive Welsh Country magazine at a cheese farm in south Wales.  As it was out of date, we did not have to pay for it – but I was attracted by the cover.

We were horrified to find when we went to Aberystwyth harbour that cars could park for 2 hours for £2.20, whereas motor caravans – according to the little pictures on the price display board – had to pay £5.80 for a whole day with no short concessions.

We did not wish to spend the whole day there, just a couple of hours for a coffee, find the local butcher, greengrocer and baker and then be on our way.  We have no problems with paying £2.00 to £2.50 for a couple of hours parking, but £5.80 for a couple of hours parking is far too expensive.  So we asked the Satnav to find us the nearest supermarket where we could park for nothing, have a coffee and do our shopping. To our great surprise, Cardigan had the same tariffs, so again we went to a supermarket. 

It would have been good to have bought Welsh food, but at such an exorbitant cost to park, we were not prepared to pay. Having found your magazine after those incidents, we totally agree with the writer.  Sadly after those experiences, we automatically headed for supermarkets.

We did have a very enjoyable time in Wales visiting friends, but would be extremely wary about returning with a motorhome.

I would appreciate knowing this email has arrived with you and would very much appreciate your comments on the points I have made.

Thanking you,

Grumpy Old Geezer Jan Feb Issue  

Why are car parks still being used as council cash cows?

In June 2015, vandals sabotaged the council car park machines in Cardigan which meant that for a couple of weeks, trade boomed with some businesses reporting turnover increases of up to 50%. Who could imagine that vandalism would literally breathe new life into Cardigan, even for the briefest time? Like many towns across Wales, Cardigan has a predominance of small shops, some lovely coffee shops and eating places, a restored castle, plus the Guildhall. But this cash-strapped council, within two weeks had ‘found’ some spare machines and Cardigan was back to normal, basically businesses struggling because of car-park charges. These car parks showed a profit of £278k and still the Council increased these charges – you really couldn’t make this up as this council continues to use car parks as cash cows. I understood car park charges were there to maintain the car parks, but the Plaid run, Ceredigion Council appear are against free parking.  

Once the ‘new’ machines were installed, My Beloved Editor, Councillors Elizabeth Evans and Mark Cole and MP Mark Williams, then attended a traders’ organised meeting, a meeting so popular there was standing room only. A couple of Council staff attended but they didn’t grasp the traders’ wish for free parking or simply didn’t care. The traders followed this meeting with direct discussions requesting free parking – but the ‘Council Said NO’. So the traders organised an evening candlelight march through Cardigan, again attended by my Beloved Editor who didn’t see a single councillor or Assembly Member there. Further meetings followed, but the ‘Council Still Said NO’. A compromise was put forward for just two hours free parking, but the Plaid Cymru run Ceredigion County Council ‘Still Said NO’.          

However in the Senedd, last October the Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government said that there should be free parking in Welsh towns in order to keep our town centres bustling. They requested the Welsh Government to set up a new fund to enable local authorities and community groups to offer free car parking in towns throughout Wales to support local shops and businesses. Plaid Cymru recognise the importance of a vibrant and diverse high street in supporting local business owners and the local economy, realising that the lack of free parking is often a big turn off for shoppers. They understand that out-of-town developments with free parking make it impossible for the high street to compete.

The not so funny joke is what Plaid say in Cardiff and what Plaid does in Ceredigion are poles apart. Think the polite phrase is – not on the same page.

I’ve gone back to the lady and explained what an uphill battle Welsh Country magazine has had trying to get Ceredigion County Council to re-think car park charges, but to no avail. A Freedom of Information questions gave e the details that Ceredigion Car Park charges in 2015/16 was £815,988 and I was also told a surplus of £172,669 was achieved. Well now isn’t that great news folks a surplus of nearly £180k but no explanation of where that money was spent. It was my understanding that car parks were not meant to be used as cash cows for the council but income was ploughed back into car parks. It was ironic then to learn that Plaid Cymru Assembly Members in Cardiff say that car parks should be free, but seemingly no-one is telling the Plaid Cymru controlled Ceredigion Council. I wonder why that is? So more hot air from Cardiff and a council in Ceredigion that seem to do as they wish to raise cash – who have thought they were both the same party?

However my main reason though for posting this item is the fact that this lady wanted to purchase local food and drink but annoyed by unrealistic car-parking charges decides to go to a supermarket where she can park for free for a couple of hours and shop there. The fact she’d have found very few Welsh food and drink products in any supermarket is, to say the least very annoying.

Please don’t ask me what I’m going to do next about this; it’s easier to admit defeat and just give up. I, along with our Welsh food and drink producers want visitors to be able to purchase, eat and enjoy local food, isn’t that one of the excitements of visiting new places? However it seems this is too difficult to achieve. If only wag food and Visit Wales could work together they might even get on our food and drink producers Christmas card list!

 

 
 

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  1. Bow

    June 8, 2017 at 8:53 am

    As a visitor I’d not come to Wales either as car parking is so dear.
    That poor lady wanting to buy local food and ending up in a supermarket twice – Kath’s right, not much Welsh food and drink in those places.
    There’s a large car park in Cardigan behind the market hall but it’s expensive, we’re being ripped off.
    Again Kath you hit the nail on the head whilst Ceredigion Council led by Plaid rook us all off,Cardiff Plaid want free parking to help our High Streets, what a pity they can’t sort out Ceredigion Council.
    Thanks for highlighting this, I no longer buy a local paper just read this and your emails to Bow.

     
  2. cheeseman

    June 8, 2017 at 8:54 am

    You shown us another shambles in local government
    and I feel sorry for that lady as I love buying local when I’m away.

     
  3. trader

    June 8, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Pity you didn’t get a magazine sale out of that lady!

     
  4. admin

    June 8, 2017 at 9:28 am

    It sure is
    plus the extra work I’ve had to do to reply and talk to Visit Wales as well – who’d run a magazine in Wales?

     
  5. beer boy

    June 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Wag food and visit wales should talk and talk to councils too.
    Poor you not even a magazine sale out of this shambles.

     
  6. bow

    June 8, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Publish or give up Kath, you’re getting nowhere and all this is costing you money

     
  7. admin

    June 8, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    hoping this will be published S/October as we go to press next week

     
  8. admin

    June 8, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    such is life in publishing in Wales.

     
  9. foodie2

    June 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Local councils are supposed to be helping local economic development and regeneration (including powers to provide grants and support businesses). It was proved in Cardigan that the car park charges have a direct influence on the income for the independent shops, which make the town interesting for tourists. There is now free Wifi in the town, but what is the point if tourists see the parking charges and go elsewhere? I wonder how much money is lost to the town through this inability to see the bigger picture?

     
  10. admin

    June 9, 2017 at 8:22 am

    To me to have Plaid spout in the Senedd for free car parking and the battle that was had in Cardigan when they could prove the difference free parking made. Ceredigion CC even turned down the suggestion for 2 hours free parking but their staff can park for free at the work unlike shop workers across Ceredigion.
    Life is unfair …..and I don’t think they are able to see the bigger picture – that’s the problem

     
  11. tom

    June 12, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Pembrokeshire car parks are cheaper
    40p for 2 hours I think
    she needs to visit Pembs.

     
  12. bow

    June 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Plaid rule in Ceredigion but what a sick joke them saying in Cardiff free parking in our High Streets to save them.
    Do this party ever talk to each other?

     
  13. bow

    June 12, 2017 at 9:26 am

    If I were you Kath I’d give up.
    No-one listens to anyone talking sense and that’s you, sensible and practical – not qualifications wag need.

     
  14. bow

    June 12, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I find this dreadful, you’ve worked hard on this but got nowhere.

     
  15. Jay

    June 12, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    GIVE UP KATH this is such a waste of your time.
    You sure couldn’t run a business like this lot run the government and they are not on minimum wage either.

     
  16. trader

    June 13, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Cardigan tried hard to get free parking but failed and the guys that blocked their car park machines made a good point, sadly not to the council who do have free parking and THIS IS NOT FAIR. But the council couldn’t give a toss.

     
  17. honey

    June 13, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Car parks and motorists will always be council cash cows and Ceredigion are one of the worst councils. No wonder tourism struggles in that county.
    If you’re at Lampeter food festival? please come and have a chat.

     
  18. admin

    June 13, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Lampeter aren’t advertising with us so no need really to go and support
    but we do always have a lot of BOW producers there so no doubt will – after stopping off at Contis cafe in Lampeter for a coffee to set us up for the day!

     
  19. Ted

    June 14, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Councils don’t give a toss about businesses, just bothered about taking as much money as they can from motorists and in this case tourists.
    Go to a supermarket that’s what our councils and governments are saying. Next breath food and drink is important to Wales….words only.

     
  20. Bow

    June 15, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Car parking has always been an issue, but after the Cardigan fiasco you’d have thought the council would have learned a lesson – but no. They get free working car parking, they don’t have to pay daily charges to work in a shop in Cardigan.
    If people are able to shop locally, the bulk of their spending stays in the area, not like Tesco when it’s out of the country within 48 hours.
    Unclear why councils can’t understand that, it’s a basic.

     
  21. Bob

    June 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

    This is well worth highlighting Kath, thanks.

     
  22. bow

    June 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    You’re wasting you’re time on this one too Kath.

     
  23. bow

    June 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Wish there was a way to get councils to listen about car park charges.

     
  24. TRADER

    June 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Don’t know anyone else who works so hard to get changes made, be it festivals, markets, producers and now car park charges.

     
  25. admin

    June 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    in fairness it’s my choice to do all that.

     
  26. admin

    June 15, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    If you have any ideas how to do that shout!!!

     
  27. admin

    June 15, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for that but it’s my time I’m wasting, but if ‘someone’ doesn’t try then NOTHING will change…………………..EVER.

     
  28. Bow

    June 16, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Motorists are too easy a target for councils, but I agree with Kath on council staff having free parking, but shop assistants and shop owners have to pay each day to go to work.

     
  29. Honey

    June 16, 2017 at 10:31 am

    You wont win this one either Kath

     
  30. admin

    June 16, 2017 at 10:36 am

    So best I give up Honey? Just join the ranks of the background moaners??
    You wouldn’t have the vote if people in the past hadn’t fought for it.
    This is in my time and for things I believe need altering.

     
  31. Rosie

    June 16, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Whatever else you do Kath you’ll not get Ceredigion council to change their tune of draining motorists of their cash.

     
  32. trader

    June 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    don’t waste more time Kath this is a loss cause
    seems like CCC don’t bother about tourists either

     
  33. trader

    June 19, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Motorists are an easy target and it’s unfair

     
  34. Tyke

    June 20, 2017 at 9:43 am

    How can this county grow in the hope to prosper, whilst car parking is getting a luxury?

     
  35. Su

    June 20, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for chasing this Kath, you’re like a dog with a bone – not meaning to be insulting!
    If there were more people like you to back people like us, Wales would be a better place to live.
    I know it’s not your job to try to make councils and government change, that’s not how you earn money, but admire you for sticking at it, and that’s despite the bullying you’ve had to take from wag and their sheer pettiness of stopping their adverts with you.
    How low can wag get with bullying?

     
  36. admin

    June 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Wag food stopped advertising with us in 2009 – it’s a long time ago.
    But best to find a bright side to that – which is he bonus of welshfoodbites. I couldn’t have started this blog if wag food had still been advertising with us…………………..

     
  37. trader

    June 21, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Typical council – stuff the visitors, stuff the businesses, but as Kath cannily mentions, council staff have free parking. This is one of many Welsh councils that paid a top London agency way over a £1m to show them how to save money!!!!!
    Not sure why this council had been paying it’s Managers for decades for whatever they did, but seems they couldn’t save money or basically couldn’t manage. Weird that, managers that can’t manage.
    You couldn’t run a business like that as Kath is always saying.

     
  38. bow

    June 22, 2017 at 10:15 am

    it’s not just tourists being rooked by Ceredigion council its’ us poor souls that have to live here. If there was decent public transport it would be easier, but there isn’t.
    No wonder supermarkets flourish.

     
  39. bow

    June 22, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Wag rule and the councils rule
    best give up Kath – you’ll not win

     
  40. bow

    June 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Councils will never admit they are in the wrong and them paying PWC over a £1m, to show a council how to save money, simply stinks.

     
  41. BOW

    June 29, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    You’ll not change this Plaid council
    you’re wasting your time.

     
  42. admin

    June 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I am sure I am wasting my time – but it’s my time to waste.
    I cannot and will not ignore an email from a reader – especially when it’s about a topic we’ve covered often.
    This visitor couldn’t buy our local food and drink and that’s not want Welsh Country magazine wants.

     
  43. Beer BOY

    June 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

    You haven’t a hope winning this one but admire your courage to keep battling with this council who will not listen that car park fees are a problem.
    Do you know how many comments have been left on this site?

     
  44. admin

    June 30, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I can tell you how many comments I have approved – 4006.
    I’m sorry haven’t got a number of those I’ve NOT approved because of poor language – let’s say!

     
  45. bow

    July 4, 2017 at 8:39 am

    You cannot win this when Councillors have closed ears