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Parking charges on the way to Pontardawe

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

By Paul Lewis

Flower shop owner Rosa Phillips (front) with fellow Pontardawe traders and residents protesting outside Neath Civic centre over the potential enforcement of charges in the car parks

Flower shop owner Rosa Phillips (front) with fellow Pontardawe traders and residents protesting outside Neath Civic centre over the potential enforcement of charges in the car parks

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PARKING charges are on their way to Pontardawe despite a campaign to keep them at bay.

But Neath Port Talbot Council has made concessions after listening to concerns voiced by Pontardawe Town Council and the Chamber of Trade.

They were against any charges being imposed, arguing traders needed all the help they could get to stay afloat.

They also pointed out most shoppers tended to pop into the shopping centre for a very short time, and it would be unfair on them to have to pay.

As a result of this, councillors have agreed to allow the first hour free of charge.

That will apply to both the Herbert Street car park and the bypass car park, after the council did a U-turn over its proposals to make the latter long-stay only.

Instead some 40 spaces will be provided for short-stay parking and around 18 for long stay.

The long-stay bays will also be £1 a day cheaper, to encourage people to use them and free up short-stay bays for those wanting to shop in the town.

Pontardawe Chamber of Trade chairman John Jones said: "It would be reasonable and fair if charges were imposed in council car parks in all other communities in Neath Port Talbot."

"But that is not the case, and it is unfair to single out Pontardawe."

Mr Jones said the council had pointed out 90 per cent of people using the car parks stayed less than an hour and so would not have to pay anything.

Despite this, the council would still have to spend on pay and display ticket machines and on a parking attendant.

"It is not economical," added Mr Jones.

The decision to introduce the charges, and how much people would have to pay, was made by the environment and highways cabinet board yesterday.

Its meeting immediately followed a lengthy, sometimes feisty debate by the environment and highways scrutiny committee.

Pontardawe member Linet Purcell made what she described as the most important speech of her political career so far, in which she argued against the imposition of charges.

She said traders were already struggling to keep their heads above water, and claimed many people making quick visits to the centre such as to collect prescriptions or drop off children at a playgroup would be penalised.

"This isn't just about sums of money," she said. "It's about people's livelihoods."

However, Councillor Des Davies said parking would be free for the first hour, and only 50p for the second hour.

"Most people do their normal pop-into-town shopping in two hours easy," he said.

"All this scare-mongering about poor old ladies popping in to collect their prescription having to pay to park.

"It's the same about mums dropping off their children for creche or dancing classes. They can all do that in an hour so they won't be affected at all."

The Pontardawe parking charges will come into force from April next year.

Time to help our businesses — Have Your Say, page 12

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  • JerryLew  |  December 01 2012, 8:52PM

    Cheers NeathBoy234. No red arrows yet. Reading quickly over the "article" - first hour free - so unless you fall asleep in the car can anybody spell out what to fill the hour doing.

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  • Neathboy234  |  December 01 2012, 8:38PM

    JerryLew good point, the only people i'd imagine who want to shop in Pontardawe actually live there anyway, so obviously they wouldn't be going there would they. Personally i wouldn't want to go there, well just as long as the spelling bee dai was there.

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  • JerryLew  |  December 01 2012, 8:33PM

    3 red arrows (so far) for my comment - but no answer to my question. Why would anybody want to go there? Lmao Come on the red arrows - but how about a positive answer to my question. Good Luck.

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 30 2012, 11:14PM

    Dai_Chotomy no i live on a private road

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  • JerryLew  |  November 30 2012, 9:57PM

    Boring story - who would want to go to Pontardawe anyway? Please could someone put up some good reasons to go - cant remember the last time I went there. Looking forward to hearing the praises for Pontardawe. Good luck guys.

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  • Dai_Chotomy  |  November 30 2012, 9:35PM

    In this very edition of the Evening Post when asked about his favorite cafe, Neath Port Talbot councillor Alex Thomas said "If I'm in Pontardawe I like going to Bishop's at the canal bridge. It offers good, hearty food at a reasonable price". He had better have a chat with his Labour colleagues who will have made him run to his car after buying a newspaper and having a leisurely cup of coffee and a sandwich to avoid a charge which will have made his "reasonably priced" lunch a bit less reasonable. I am not going to enter into debate with Neathboy234. My contempt for him is well known. I didn't even know that he paid to "part" in Neath. I wonder if it costs him £14 a week to "part" outside his home.

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  • Fancy That  |  November 30 2012, 2:52PM

    Car parking charges in Pontardawe For 2 local elected Labour councillors. Against - Plaid, local traders and 3500 people who signed a petition. It has also been decided by the NPT council not to charge for parking in Skewen and Gleneath. Also charging to park on the sea front at Aberavon was talked about, for charging nil against charging one elected Labour councillor, decision no charges. Is it fair for the people of or visitors to Pontardawe to be charged when other small towns are not.

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  • Neathboy234  |  November 30 2012, 12:19PM

    If you have to pay to part in Neath/PT why not Pontardawe. There should be no apartheid in parking. Dai_Chotomy i'll be giving Lidl's a ring and tell them to look out for U. I take it u will be the one with the angry red face!

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  • Julesbreadbox  |  November 30 2012, 9:54AM

    *cynicism mode on* WHAT A MARVELOUS IDEA.PERFECT FOR ANY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!!!!!! *cynicism mode off* Disgusting. Shop owners and traders are being ripped off and punished for any tiny little bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Yes, all you Councils of "Great" Britain, kill them off, let the High streets die and send people to a life on benefits and misery. They may cost you dearly but might be better to manage and monitor in the long term. This used to be the country of great inventors and entrepeneurs. All the great promises of this new government(which isn't that new any more) to enhance small businesses and trade. But then again, what else can you expect of greedy councils taking advantage?

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  • Dai_Chotomy  |  November 30 2012, 9:42AM

    The whole plan is complete and utter balderdash. I, and everyone else who wants to spend time in the village will park outside Farmfoods which is free and when they catch on that lots of people are doing it and start to do a Neath Morrison's and charge and give your pound back when you spend a fiver, I shall be off to Lidl's car park. That should keep me going for a while. I suppose it will be on-street parking after that. I am glad that I don't live on Herbert Street though, £14 a week to park my car, that will help Neath Port Talbot get the £11,000 that they are looking for. In fact it will take only fifteen residents to pay that as a tax for having the audacity to own a motor-car!

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