Car parking charges at five country parks in Caerphilly County Borough could be removed permanently, while parents could be offered free parking close to schools following a council review.
A standard hourly rate across all council-owned car parks for short- and long-term parking could also be implemented.
The changes have been recommended by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s joint scrutiny committee, following findings by a group of councillors on the council’s cross-party Car Parks Task and Finish Group.
What is the Car Parks Task and Finish Group?
The Task and Finish Group, which is chaired by Llanbradach’s Plaid Cymru councillor Rob Gough, is made up seven councillors (three Labour members, three Plaid Cymru members and an independent member).
Recommendations which will go before the council’s cabinet next week include that hourly charges should be the same across pay and display car parks.
It is suggested that charges should start at 70p for one hour, as they currently do at most car parks, except for those at Oakfield Street in Ystrad Mynach and The Twyn in Caerphilly town centre.
The council has currently suspended charges at pay and display town centre car parks until at least March 31 to help businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions and support residents in “staying local” for shopping.
Charges introduced at five country parks in 2014 should also be removed to recognise health benefits to residents, it is said.
Charges would be scrapped at Bargoed Woodland park, Parc Cwm Darran, Parc Penallta, Pen-y-Fan Pond and Sirhowy Valley Country Park, where free parking is currently offered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But charges would still apply at Cwmcarn Forest to control parking use due to high visitor numbers.
It has also been recommended that parents and carers are offered free use of car parks close to schools for a limited time to relieve congestion and improve safety.
This would be introduced in areas with traffic issues at school drop-off and pick-up times, and where there are car parks close to schools.
A programme to upgrade pay and display machines across the county borough is also suggested.
Some recommendations by the task and finish group have been rejected or deferred.
The joint-scrutiny committee did not support offering reduced cost parking permits for businesses as it was felt the current ones were sufficient.
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A proposal to introduce charges at park and ride car parks was also rejected amid concerns it would increase parking in residential areas.
Other plans which have been deferred due to Covid-19 include introducing charges at free car parks, removing Sunday charges at The Twyn in Caerphilly and non-enforcement of charges on St David’s Day.
A recommendation to stop locking two car parks in Blackwood at night was also deferred for further discussion with ward councillors.
The council’s cabinet will consider the recommendations at a meeting on Wednesday.
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