AMMANFORD business leaders have welcomed the news Carmarthenshire county council chiefs have adopted their suggestion to allow free parking days to be spread about the year countywide in a bid to boost trade.

The town's chamber of trade proposed the move last year, saying free parking would increase footfall and encourage visitors to explore what Ammanford had to offer.

"We're very pleased the council have agreed to go along with this," Angela Phillips, secretary of Ammanford Chamber of Trade, told the Guardian. "We're not going to get free parking before Christmas back, but at least we will now have five days in the year when motorists won't have to pay.

"The hope is that people coming into town for major events such as the carnival or the elf challenge will then be encouraged to wander around and see what we have to offer."

A council spokesman said county executive board members had in the past suspended enforcement or car parking charges during periods of town centre regeneration construction work as well as historically agreeing to free parking at Christmas.

Now they will be looking to opt for free parking around events in town centres to help boost trade.

Cllr Colin Evans, county executive board member for transport, said: “This approach will encourage people to visit town centres to experience the retail offer and help reinvigorate them at times of low demand.

“This demonstrates we have listened to the traders and are continuing support for the retail sector at a difficult time."

The event days must support a whole town and not be specific to one or a group of retailers. The events should be managed by a town centre management group where the council is represented and they should agreed a month in advance of any event.