COUNCIL tax payers will be footing a bill for £200,000 if a deal cannot be reached over the running of three car parks, a community leader has warned.

Abergele Town Council wants to lease the parking areas on Water Street and Market Street in Abergele and on Pensarn beach from Conwy County Borough Council to prevent them all becoming pay and display, which town councillor Andrew Wood says would amount to "town regeneration suicide".

However, the two bodies are at odds over how much the town authority should pay, due to hugely contrasting estimates on how much the pay and display machines would raise.

Cllr Wood said: “Over 10 years, if Conwy officers pursue their inaccurate incomes, this will cost the residents of Conwy more than £200,000 in cost and inflation based on overheads."

Cllr Wood bases the £200,000 figure on the price of the installation of parking meters, necessary upgrades, traffic warden costs, business rates and maintenance, as well as money being put into the machines.

A survey produced by a consultant late last year that show a gulf of more than £90,000 between both parties' estimates of the car parks' likely income.

In the case of Water Street, the only car park which is already pay and display, it has averaged an income of about £9,000 over the past five years, whereas consultants originally forecast an income of more than £38,000. 

In is understood the county council has scaled back this figure, but maintain income projections of more than £32,000 and £47,000 for free sites Market Street and Pensarn Beach.

The two authorities will meet on May 21 to try to negotiate a lease price.

Cllr Wood says free parking is vital for Abergele's prosperity.

He said: “Speaking as a town businessman and county councillor living and working in Abergele, currently tasked with the business and tourism portfolio within the Abergele Place Plan, it would be absolute 'town regeneration suicide' to implement any more restrictions or charges than we have at present.

“Small town centre car parking charges are not popular with Conwy residents and visitors, nor does charging people to park help with our constant battle to encourage businesses locate into town residents or our residents to shop there.

“Why would people use a pay and display when over 350 free parking spaces exist on Pensarn promenade and west areas?"

 He added: “Put simply, the maths are flawed. We want to reach a mutually acceptable figure based on facts that are accurate."

A Conwy Council spokesman said:"At the meeting on May 21, we’ll be looking at alternatives such as leasing or sponsoring the car parks.

"The projections for income on the current free car parks are based on observed car park occupancy, using a more sophisticated methodology than simply averaging the income from the number of spaces available. 

"All the relevant costs associated with introducing pay and display, over and above normal operating costs for these car parks, have been considered and included in the figures."