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Little or no cost to park! *update*

Significant reductions in parking charges agreed for Pontypridd & Aberdare along with Free Parking being introduced in Porth, Tonypandy & Mountain Ash Town Centres.

Pontypridd-Regen-March-2012-53Free parking will be introduced in Porth, Tonypandy & Mountain Ash alongside significantly reduced charging arrangements in Aberdare & Pontypridd –
*Update – 2nd Feb – This comes into force on the 1st April*

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet agreed a host of reductions to car park charging arrangements to boost the local high street economy.

The decision today follows a 6 week public consultation around changes to car parking arrangements in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Following a 21-day consultation process free parking will be introduced in Porth, Mountain Ash & Tonypandy town centres.

This decision will also include Pontyclun town centre, however free parking is currently offered by Pontyclun Community Council at this town centre as a result of their leasehold tenure for the Council Car Park which the Council will offer to now review.

Other changes include a 50p short stay of one hour (down from 75p) and £1 two-hour stays (from £1.50) to increase footfall in Aberdare & Pontypridd town centres

Long stays (from £2.50 to £2), monthly permits (from £37.50 to £20) and annual permits cut by almost half to support staff working in town centres (from £375 to £200) alongside all-day Saturday parking (from £2.50 to £1).

County Borough Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council said:

“Cabinet today discussed at length car park charging arrangements across the County Borough which will see significant reductions to the cost of parking locally in RCT.

“In response to the feedback we have received through the six week consultation we undertook with residents and traders, it was also agreed to introduce free car parking arrangements in Porth, Tonypandy & Mountain Ash.

“It was also agreed to significantly reduce the charging arrangements in the larger town centres of Pontypridd & Aberdare.

“The move seeks to support our town centres as much as we practicably can in this difficult economic climate, to ensure the right retail environment is provided to encourage local residents to choose their local high street.

“Car parking charges are often a controversial issue and deciding upon the right arrangement is hugely importantly to ensure parking is available for shoppers through the course of the day in our larger town centres. I hope the balance we have struck between managing car parking and supporting our local high streets will be recognised by those who have constructively engaged in the consultation process.

“During the meetings and discussions I have held with traders directly, many pointed to the fact that the smaller town centres in RCT, required different arrangements because of their individual circumstances which are different to those of Pontypridd and Aberdare. It was on this basis that we arrived at the decision to introduce free parking arrangements in these towns.

“To offer an incentive to shop locally in our larger towns, the reductions we have agreed to parking charges in Aberdare & Pontypridd will provide the stimulus for residents to shop locally, especially during weekends with the £1 all day Saturday charge. Likewise the amended parking regime we have agreed for these towns will, it is hoped, encourage more people to use the car parks.

“While the package of changes we have agreed today will result in a significant reduction in income from car parking for the Council, Cabinet were of the view that the assistance these changes will hopefully offer to our town centres, in this very difficult trading environment, outweighed the financial pressure this move inevitably creates on the Council budget as a whole.

“This decision today will hopefully compliment the support the Council has offered to our town centres for a number of years such as Christmas Free Parking being extended to a whole month, following my election as Leader of the Council and the Support Your High Street Campaign which offered 1 week free parking each September.

“Cabinet also reaffirmed its support to maintain free car parking for Blue Badge holders in designated disabled bays, with RCT being one of the few local authority areas who offer free disabled parking in our town centres. With the added support today’s decisions will offer to local high streets across RCT, I am confident, through the continued dialogue we have with town traders, that we can take town centres across RCT forward.”

The consultation – which ran for six weeks during November and December – saw more than 70% of people agree with the changes for daily charges and season tickets, while 80% agreed with the new Saturday charge.