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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 13:45 GMT
Parking campaign gathers support
Car park charges
Planned parking charges are being opposed.

Businesses fighting plans for new car parking charges in four Carmarthenshire towns have won support from traders outside their area.

Store owners in Ammanford, Llandeilo, Llandovery and Newcastle Emlyn claim the introduction of charges will drive shoppers away.

Carmarthenshire Council says it is only fair that charges are made so the shopping centres are brought in line with the county's larger towns.

But traders in Llanelli and Carmarthen, where car parking charges already operate, say the authority needs to re-think its policy in all towns.

Thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the new 20p and 40p charges in north east Carmarthenshire .

Council executive board member for environment, Pam Palmer, said the charges were nominal and far less than in other parts of the county.

"Car park users in Carmarthen and Llanelli are currently subsidising the provision and operation of car parks in Ammanford, Llandeilo, Llandovery and Newcastle Emlyn," she said.

Pam Palmer
Cabinet member Pam Palmer

"A balanced parking policy is part of the county council's transport plan.

"The income generated from the nominal charge of 20p for four hours and 40p for all day would help to pay for the maintenance and upkeep of these car parks, and ensure they are safe, secure places for motorists to use."

Margaret Bird, an executive board member of the Carmarthen Chamber of Trade, said she had every sympathy with those in the smaller towns.

"I'm against any charges for the simple reason it stops people coming into town to spend their money," she said.

"If they are creating extra parking spaces and renovating the public toilets near the car parks then, ok, they've got a good reason for charges - but where is the money going?

Tenants association

"I have total sympathy with those towns facing charges."

Barrie Lewis, chairman of the Llanelli market tenants association, said it was perhaps fair that charges were spread across the county but added people wanted to see something for their money.

"I think it is highly unlikely people will go to Llanelli or Carmarthen instead of Ammanford because of the charges," he said.

"But if the council does introduce them then they should spend more money on the car parks and facilities.

"The council has got its parking policy wrong because there is no short term charges in Llanelli for people who just want to pop into town for 20 minutes or half an hour."


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