Cost-cutting measure sees free Sunday parking axed
FREE parking in Llanelli town centre on Sundays is to be axed by Carmarthenshire Council in a controversial cost-cutting move.
The plans were announced last week as the council set its annual budget for the coming year, with the parking charges expected to raise £56,000 annually.
But Llanelli residents fear the move could impact on the town centre businesses which remain open on Sundays.
Richard Scott, 80, of Dythel Park, said: "I think it will affect businesses.
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"I come into town every Sunday, but I think people will go to Trostre instead, as parking is free there."
And Joanne Richards, of Llangennech, said: "I would think if people do come here on a Sunday it will affect them.
"If the council do away with free parking after 10am in the multi-storey I think that would also have a big impact."
Staff at The Travel House, on Cowell Street, also said they thought the plans would have a negative effect on businesses in the town.
Natasha Cook, 29, who lives in Felinfoel, said: "I think the businesses that do open on a Sunday will probably suffer if the council takes away free parking.
"We are generally quieter, but there are people in town.
"There isn't much open on a Sunday, with the market closed, but they shouldn't penalise businesses which do open."
Following the meeting, a Carmarthenshire Council spokesman said the council agreed a proposal for Sunday car park charging, and for on-street parking charges, with the details to be developed to find and promote appropriate locations in the county.
"The details of such schemes would be worked up in consultation with the local community and businesses," he added.
And he said the free four hours' parking currently available at the Murray Street car park was only to compensate for current works going on in the town.
"This is a concession that was approved by the council 18 months ago to compensate for the loss of the former Island House car park on which East Gate has been developed, and to last only until October 2012," he said.
"Although East Gate car park is now open with more spaces than existed in the Island House car park, the free parking concession has continued at the multi-storey because of the ongoing £7 million refurbishments work.
"These will be largely completed in the next month."