Swimming club plans protest after parking price hike
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Swimmers in Colwyn Bay will protest against the council’s plan to hike parking charges along the town’s promenade.
It comes as fees are set to increase from next week.
Between May and September, the minimum charge will be increased by 640% to £3.70 for up to four hours.
The current minimum rate is one hour for 50p, two hours for £1, four hours for £2.50, or over four hours for £3.50.
But the Bay Blue Bits swimming group, which has 180 members, is planning to protest against the charges this Sunday, May 8.
Moira Cavanagh, a member of the swimming group, said: “We feel that this rule is discriminatory as there are many people with poor mobility who either walk or swim near the prom, many of whom do not qualify for a Blue Badge. We have a member with MS, and he feels this is discriminatory.
“But this is their only chance to get out into the fresh air and improve their well-being. As the council is supposed to promote well-being, we feel that this is going to achieve the opposite effect as many people will be deterred by the payment and be unable to exercise.
“They are saying we will get four hours for £3.70. Well, we don’t need four hours. We only need an hour.
“£3.70 is fine for tourists. It’s perfect for them. If I was travelling to Colwyn Bay today, I would be quite happy to pay £3.70 to park on the front. But most locals just want a short walk.”
She added: “This will affect people’s health. All the research says that cold water swimming is good for your circulation and mental health. We have a lot of people in the group who say cold water swimming has changed their life. Not everyone can afford to pay this. It’s always the poor that are hit.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council commented: “Parking continues to be free on the Promenade before 10 am and after 4 pm all year.
“The parking charges at Colwyn Bay promenade are changing to bring them in line with parking charges for other areas ensuring a fair and equitable approach to parking charges across the county borough. The charges come into effect on 9 May 2022.
“Blue Badge holders can park free of charge in any bay in on-street pay and display areas like the promenade (excluding coach/loading bays).
“An annual pass is available for Colwyn Bay Promenade for £65.50 per year (price applicable from 9 May 2022.”
Members of the swimming group will meet at 12 pm on Sunday 8 May at the ‘Colwyn letters’ to protest about the increased parking charges. The group welcomes non-members who want to join the protest.
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