A NEWLY-ELECTED councillor at the Vale of Glamorgan Council has presented a number of suggestions for how to improve the Esplanade.

Cllr Anthony Ernest, Conservative councillor for Plymouth ward, is proposing several improvements, including an increase to parking times, floodlights at the Italian Gardens and the installation of safety ladders at the seafront.

Perhaps the biggest talking point is the issue of parking, where many already say there is not enough parking on the Esplanade.

This issue has been much of the focus in the debate over restaurant seating in parking spots on the Esplanade.

However, Cllr Ernest believes that the current two hour limit is not sufficient for those visiting the seafront for a meal, and instead proposed a three-hour limit.

"Obviously there are those who say is insufficient parking on the Esplanade, which on a busy day, I recognise and accept," said Cllr Ernest.

"There's not a heck of a lot that one can do about that.

"The parking issue really is, if somebody's having a decent meal by the time they sit down, take their place, get served, have two or three courses - actually they're looking at their watches with a view to rushing off.

"Now the problem with that is of course there are a lot of people who simply go down to the Esplanade to just have a coffee or something like that and two hours is probably adequate.

"It's trying to balance the needs of all the hundreds of motorists who descend on Penarth, particularly for weekends."

The parking time limit of two hours was introduced last summer.

When asked how this would impact residents and those who have mobility issues, Cllr Ernest said that the issue of disabled parking "needs to be addressed."

He also said that those living close to the Esplanade will likely have dedicated permanent parking areas, but recognised that it may be difficult for business owners and workers who travel there most days.

Another suggestion by Cllr Ernest was to reintroduce floodlights to the Italian Gardens on the Esplanade.

The gardens were lit up in previous years, but the lights were stolen and not replaced.

Cllr Ernest said: "We've got lights along the pier, but the gardens, which have a very nice eclectic mix of plants,  has no floodlighting at the moment.

"It would be nice if those those lights could be restored and the cost wouldn't be that great, we're talking about a few thousands of pounds."

Cllr Ernest also highlighted a safety issue as there are currently no ladders on the wall from the beach to the Esplanade.

Ladders were built into the wall, but time and conditions have eroded the rungs.

Classing it as a "priority", Cllr Ernest said: "We've lived without them for a couple of years, but that doesn't mean to say that people's safety shouldn't be uppermost in the council's mind."