Lammas Street traders met with the four Plaid Cymru county councillors for Carmarthen Town to discuss the proposed changes to parking arrangements in Lammas Street. The meeting was organised by South Ward Cllr Arwel Lloyd as a result of the concerns expressed by traders about the Council's plans. After the meeting, Cllr Lloyd said, "The overwhelming message given to me by the traders is that the current arrangements are working well, there are no real problems, and therefore no need for change. The County Council's only reason for changing the current system seems to be an attempt to increase the council's income - they seem not to have taken into account the fact that, if even one business fails as a result of the introduction of charges for parking, the council will probably lose more in business rate income than it gains in parking income."
The County Council's proposals, passed by the Executive Board last year, include the introduction of charges for parking along Lammas Street. Currently, there is a limited waiting period, but no charge. The Council also proposes to move the taxi rank to use a part of the current bus bay. The plans had been scheduled for introduction on 1st January this year, but following campaigns by Plaid and others, the council's Executive Board agreed to defer the introduction for one year.
Cllr Lloyd added, "As things stand, the scheme has not been shelved, only delayed. Traders in Lammas Street have been having a bad time recently for a number of reasons, and the temporary reduction in parking in the town whilst redevelopment takes place has not helped. Coupled with the recession, many businesses feel that they are now operating on the financial margins, and that any changes which further reduce their income could mean the end for some of them. There is a serious danger that the changes proposed by the council will deter people from coming into Lammas Street at all, and that could spell disaster for some businesses.
"The council say that they are only proposing to charge 20p for parking initially, but I am concerned that this will be the thin end of the wedge. Once the principle is established, there is nothing to stop the council increasing the charges each year, so it is important that we resist the principle. I will continue to support the traders and work with them to put together a case asking the council's Executive Board to reconsider its decision. As one of the traders put it to us at the meeting - 'it isn't broken - so why are they trying to fix it?'"