Parking hike ‘all pain and no gain’
12:00pm Friday 11th January 2013 in News
AN AMMANFORD trader is calling on Carmarthenshire county council to slash parking charges to try to encourage more shoppers back into the town.
Last week’s Guardian reported newsagent Gerald Thomas’ claim that the £1m revamp of Quay Street had led to the closure of his business.
Now butcher Martin Jones claims the local authority’s decision to raise fees is driving potential customers away to neighbouring towns with free parking.
“Parking for an hour in town nowcosts 60p as opposed to 50p,”
Mr Jones, an Ammanford town councillor, told the Guardian.
“Parking for four hours has gone up from 80p to 90p and all day costs £1.40 as opposed to £1.30.
“You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have told me they’re now going to shop elsewhere.
“The county council spent £1m doing up Quay Street, but from the traders’ point of view it’s been all pain and no gain.
“The street does look better, but the council is not doing anything to increase footfall.
“The free parking was only offered halfway through the job – and even then didn’t apply to the town’s main car parks. They need to encourage more people back into town – to raise parking fees is just putting another fence up.“ Llanelli’s main multi-storey car park is free, but the council seems to be trying to close Ammanford down.
“How many more shops will go the wall?”
Mr Jones – who employs eight people and says he pays rates of £6,500 a year – believes charges of 50p for half a day and £1 for a full day would be more sensible.
“There must be around a thousand parking bays in town and I bet around 90 per cent would be full if the council adopted those sorts of charges,” he added.