THERE are concerns that a well-used train station car park in Ebbw Vale may soon be unavailable for use by the public - with a petition against the idea signed by more than 2,500 people.

The car park at Ebbw Vale Town Station, which has 56 spaces, is currently accessible to all, and is well-used by shoppers and visitors to the town.

But now Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council has announced a permit scheme will be introduced at the car park - which is next to the council's General Offices - from next month. Although the council has not confirmed who permits will be issued to, councillors have confirmed they have been offered passes, and others have claimed only local authority staff and members will be allowed to park there.

The idea has proven deeply unpopular with residents, with a petition against the plan - due to come into force on Monday, September 20, signed by more than 2,500 people.

When asked about who the permits would be issued to, the council said: "The decision on who will receive a permit is yet to be made so I can’t tell you exactly who will get one until we have further meetings in the coming days."

Ebbw Vale resident Lynne Brookman started the petition. She said: "Many residents of Blaenau Gwent are totally incensed by this decision, by the council to allocate the whole car park including disabled bays, for permit holders only, which we understand to be elected members visiting for meetings.

"We feel that this is another example of how this council operates, putting their needs before the needs of the residents of this borough, who they are there supposedly to serve.

"Whilst we understand it is the ownership of the council, we feel that the needs of the community should always have priority over the needs of councillors."

Despite the council claiming decisions on who could be issued permits were yet to be made, Cllr Jonathan Millard and Cllr Stephen Morris told the Argus they had both been offered passes.

Cllr Millard, Independent, said: "All councillors have received an email being offered a parking permit to my knowledge. I received an email which I ignored. I was then called to be offered a permit and I refused it on the phone."

He added the email offering him the permit was addressed to all councillors.

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Cllr Stephen Thomas, leader of the opposition Labour Group said: "Once again the majority Independent administration has got it spectacularly wrong and has shown no consideration whatsoever for the public.

"To try and claim the car park right next to the railway for councillors only when it is provides the easiest access for the elderly and disabled is bad enough; to do it at a time when council meetings are online, and the car park is being used for crucial vaccinations is frankly unforgiveable.

"Both opposition groups were left in the dark about this and only found out through a phone call from a council officer, even then there was no specification that the car park in question was the railway car park and we naturally presumed that they were talking about the one opposite the General Offices main entrance"

Cllr Thomas added he had turned down a permit.


Blaenau Gwent MS Alun Davies told the Argus he had written to the council on the issue last week, and was awaiting a response.

He said: "They have made a terrible error of judgement. Essentially they are privatising a public asset for their own use. And that’s just a bad thing to do. When I visit the general offices I use public parking and I’m sure that the council can do the same."

Nick Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent sent a letter to the council and said the is concerned that the decision will impact local commuters who use the train station to get to work.

A spokesperson from Blaenau Gwent council said no objections were made about the restrictions during the consultation period.

They said: "New car parking arrangements will apply for users of the car park adjacent to the General Offices in Ebbw Vale from September 20, 2021. From this date, use of the car park will be restricted to people holding a valid permit and general use of the car park will cease.

"The changes do not affect the public car park opposite the building which provides accessible parking for other occupiers of the building and staff with disabilities, plus there is ample parking in the nearby multi-storey car park. A pick up and drop off point for rail customers remains in place at the train station."

You can read the petition here.