A number of Island residents have raised their concerns with me about the introduction of car parking charges at South Stack, which the RSPB have managed since 1977.
South Stack and its surrounding area is a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. It includes the iconic stack, lighthouse and the managed bird reserve. It has attracted people to the area for many decades, and has been enhanced by the RSPB since the late 1970s.
Let me be clear, I do accept the financial pressures on charities, local authorities and organisations – particularly after almost a decade of austerity and government cuts. However, many people do feel that a £5 peak charge is both excessive and punitive, in that it hits those local residents who use the area and its facilities, such as the café, which is now operated by the RSPB. These are short stay but frequent visitors who enjoy and socialise in the area.
I suggest the RSPB look and consider local exemptions or varied discounts, as applies to its members, a number of whom have contacted me to oppose the parking charges. I also urge the RSPB to work with local residents and stakeholders on this matter.
I had to cancel a meeting with the RSPB a few weeks ago due to unforeseen circumstances, but I hope to meet with them soon to discuss this matter and put the case for local residents.
We need to look at enhancing this unique product, we all want the South Stack area to be a success for the local and regional economy, but the imposition of fixed and rigid parking fees is a negative option and will lead to further discontent. There are alternative ways of managing traffic issues, including the use of public and private transport, that need to be thoroughly explored.
I will keep all residents updated and value further views by email or directly to my office via the contact details below:
Phone: 01407 765750
Office: Tŷ Cledwyn, 18 Thomas Street, Holyhead, Ynys Môn, LL65 1RR