THE owners of the Matalan car park in Rhyl, have been given the go-ahead to set whatever charges they wish after winning a planning appeal.

The original planning consent for nearby shops allowed free parking 24 hours a day on the Greenfield Place site.

An application to have this restriction removed was refused last autumn by Denbighshire County Council.

This decision was taken to appeal by the operators of the site, Euro Car Parks, who acted on behalf of the owners, Copenhagen-based Nectar Asset Management.

The council subsequently agreed to allow charges after a grace period of two hours’ free parking. Regardless of this concession, Euro Car Parks appealed against the authority’s refusal to lift the original restriction and a planning inspector found in its favour.

A spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate Wales said: “In his decision, the inspector stated the precise terms of the proposed parking charge is a matter for the private landowner of the site.

“He has considered the appeal on the basis of the planning implications of removing the disputed condition.”

A spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said: “The implication of the appeal decision is that the company now have the choice whether to introduce parking charges for any use of the car park, or to continue to charge for stays in excess of two hours (which they have been doing since Denbighshire’s planning committee consented to this in dealing with a separate application in December 2017).

“The decision leaves it open to the company to introduce whatever scale of charges they choose.”

Denbighshire county and Rhyl town councillor Pat Jones said: “I hope they will keep it to having the first two hours free because it would be detrimental to the shops there and elsewhere in the town centre.

“This was the whole point of the condition – to allow free parking on the original planning consent back in 2001.

“It was to allow people to park there and be able to shop in the town centre as well as the shops next to the car park.

“My concern is for the commercial health of the town centre and I hope the Euro Car Parks will be sensitive to this.”

County councillor Bob Murray said: “I am not happy with this decision. I hope the car park operator keeps the two-hours-free parking period, although I would prefer it if they behaved like other operators in the area and allowed a three-hour grace period.”

Euro Car Parks have declined to comment.