Richard Evans, local democracy journalist
Swimmers in Colwyn Bay will protest the council’s plan to raise parking charges along the town promenade.
This comes as fees are expected to rise from next week.
Between May and September, the minimum rate will be increased by 640% to £3.70 for up to four hours.
The current minimum charge is one hour for 50 pence, two hours for £1, four hours for £2.50 or more than four hours for £3.50.
But swimming group Bay Blue Bits, which has 180 members, plans to protest the charges this Sunday, May 8.
Swimming group member Moira Cavanagh said: “We feel this rule is discriminatory as many people with reduced mobility walk or swim near the ball, many of whom are not eligible for a blue badge. We have a member with multiple sclerosis, and he finds this discriminatory.
“But it’s their only chance to get outdoors and improve their well-being.” As counseling is meant to promote wellbeing, we believe this is going to have the opposite effect as many people will be deterred by the payment and unable to exercise.
“They say we’ll get four hours for £3.70. Well, we don’t need four hours. We only need an hour.
“£3.70 is good for tourists. It’s perfect for them. If I was traveling to Colwyn Bay today I would be very happy to pay £3.70 to park out front. But most locals just want a short walk.
She added: “It will affect people’s health. All research indicates that swimming in cold water is good for circulation and mental health. We have many people in the group who say cold water swimming has changed their lives. Not everyone can afford to pay this. It is always the poor who are affected.
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council said: ‘Parking continues to be free on the promenade before 10am and after 4pm all year round.
“Parking charges on the Colwyn Bay promenade are changing to bring them in line with parking charges in other areas, ensuring a fair and equitable approach to parking charges in the county borough. The charges take effect on May 9, 2022.
“Blue badge holders can park for free in any bay in the pay and display areas on the street like the promenade (except coach/loading docks).
“An annual pass is available for Colwyn Bay Promenade for £65.50 per annum (price applicable from 9 May 2022.”
Members of the swimming group will meet at 12 p.m. on Sunday 8 May to ‘Letters from Colwyn’ in protest at increased parking charges. The group welcomes non-members who wish to join the demonstration.
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