Church leaders criticise plans to stop free Sunday parking in Carmarthenshire
PLANS to scrap free Sunday parking in Carmarthenshire have been criticised by church leaders.
The county council estimates it can raise £56,000 to put towards keeping services running by introducing the charge.
It is now planning to talk to local communities and businesses about the move.
But Reverend Leigh Richardson, Vicar of St. Peter's Church in Carmarthen, said he is against charging for parking on a Sunday.
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He said: "It is going affect us greatly. It is a tax on community church."
Mr Richardson said they will be looking at starting a petition against the move.
"Going to church is a freedom people in this country have enjoyed for centuries. Being charged to go to church is a tax on religion and it happens no where else in the world," he added.
The church will be meeting with Carmarthenshire Council officials to discuss the plans on March 26.
Canon Patrick Thomas, Vicar of Christchurch in Lammas Street, said the proposal was "very sad".
He added: "There is something special about Sundays, they are part of our culture in Wales and that should be protected."
Canon Michael Lloyd Rees, Vicar of Betws and Ammanford, said Sunday parking charges will affect church-goers.
"It will affect those who come here to St Michael's Church.
"There needs to be a bit of respect given to the community who use the facilities."
Mr Rees said some form of help should be given to members of the church and community in Ammanford.
"Why should people be penalised for going to church?"
Carmarthenshire council says it is facing a cuts to its funding from the UK and Welsh governments.
It says it needs to raise money to balance its books and keep front line services running.