CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has proposed plans to charge for parking at a number of locations across the county that are currently free and unrestricted.

The majority of these offer access to the countryside, beaches and parks which are popular with both locals and visitors.

These sites include the Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park in Tumble, as well as car parks around Burry Port, Pembrey and Sandy Road.

Labour representatives have slammed Council plans for new car parking charges as a penny-pinching, vindictive attack on local residents.

Nia Griffith MP said: “It is outrageous that the council is planning to whack round-the-clock charges on beach and country car-parks, hammering local residents who just want to take their children or dogs out for some fresh air.

“This will be counter-productive as resentful drivers may well avoid the car parks and end up parking less conveniently and less safely along roadsides.

“And I cannot see how the economics stack up, by the time you pay for warden’s time and mileage just to police them.

“I am calling on the council to drop these dull plans once and for all.”

Lee Waters AM added: “I am completely bemused by this latest move by the Council to restrict free access to our local beaches and countryside.

“The council have not demonstrated that there is a problem in any of these are areas that would justify this proposal, so I struggle to understand what problem they’re trying to solve.

“Local people use these car parks for recreation in natural and green open spaces, proven to have physical and mental health benefits.”

Cllr Dot Jones, who represents Llannon, added: “It is disappointing to hear that the County Council wish to start charging for accessing this lovely woodland green space within the Llannon Ward.

“Plenty of local residents use the woodland park for dog-walking or running, and families with small children take their bikes and scooters there to ride in a safe environment. We need to be mindful of the impact this will have.”

Cllr Rob James, Labour’s Leader on Carmarthenshire County Council, added: “I’d like to echo the views of Nia and Lee on this issue. I have spoken with Labour Councillors representing Burry Port, Sandy and Llannon, who are determined to fight these charges.

“Plaid Cymru have attacked car parking changes nationally, yet they showing locally you can’t trust them to deliver on their promises. Frankly, Carmarthenshire deserves better.”

The council’s head of leisure, Ian Jones said: “The council continues to invest heavily in its outdoor recreation and coastal facilities and welcomes any comments that the public have on the proposals to introduce consistent and reasonable parking charges to help develop these managed facilities.”

If residents wish to object to these plans they can do so by writing to the Head of Administration & Law, County Hall, Carmarthen or emailing by March. 22.