Neath Port Talbot Council to ban Sunday drivers from town centre pedestrian-only areas.
SUNDAY drivers will be banned from parking in Neath and Port Talbot's pedestrian-only town centres because of safety fears.
Access is allowed until 10.30am from Monday to Saturday to allow deliveries to take place.
But on Sundays there is no such restriction, leading to complaints from pedestrians who are said to be taking their lives in their hands.
It will mean amending traffic orders, and officers had suggested the Sunday ban should be introduced in 2015.
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Councillors, though, decided it needed greater urgency and asked for it to be put on the fast track for next year.
However, head of engineering and transport David Griffiths said this was not possible, so the aim now is for 2014.
"The town centres are quite dangerous and we have been lobbied," Mr Griffiths told the environment and highways scrutiny committee.
"There are safety concerns, particularly for children, people with pushchairs and prams, and wheelchair users.
"Parking in council car parks is currently free on Sundays, but people want to park right by the front doors of shops."
Councillor Des Davies said: "Personally, I would like to see it happen in 2013, not 2015.
"When you shop in the pedestrianised area of Neath town centre on a Sunday you are taking your life in your hands.
"Cars are parking on both sides of the road, and you can hardly move by The Square.
"It's chockablock and the traffic coming through is not doing less than 30mph. It really is hazardous."
There was, however, less support for another proposal, which would see free Sunday parking in council car parks abolished from 2015.
Councillor Marian Lewis said: "I'm not in favour of Sunday parking fees.
"We are trying to increase business and help our economy, and I think free parking on a Sunday is important.
"We have to give something to our entrepreneurs."
In the end it was agreed the council should consider Sunday parking fees that were lower than weekday charges.
Councillors also agreed to negotiate changes to terms and conditions for parking enforcement officers to allow them to work Sundays and during the evenings. Extra staff will also be recruited.