There has been strong reaction from Plaid Cymru in Carmarthen to a suggestion that the Labour/Independent Party administration at county hall is poised to introduce parking charges at all the town’s car parks on Sundays in the near future. Although charges are currently made for parking on Monday to Saturday between 8:00am and 6:00pm, it has long been the case that all the car parks could be used for free during evenings and on Sundays.
John Dixon, Plaid’s parliamentary candidate for the area, said, “This move would affect hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who currently park free on a Sunday. It would affect all of those who drive to the town centre’s churches and chapels, as well as all those who come into the town centre on a Sunday to shop or for other reasons. It’s a Sunday stealth tax – charging for something which has been free to date, and another deterrent to those who prefer to use our town centre instead of out-of-town centres. What next? Charging for evening parking as well? The Labour and Independent Parties seem to view everything as money-raising opportunities for the county council rather than looking at the needs of the county’s people and businesses. Plaid will do all that we can to prevent this from being implemented.”
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Plaid’s leader on the county council, said, “When I first heard the rumour that this was being considered, I simply could not believe what I was hearing. Yet, when I asked the council what was happening, they confirmed that this is one proposal being actively considered. It is a mean-spirited suggestion which is simply designed to extract more money from the pockets of local residents. This will be a charge on those coming into town on a Sunday to worship. This is something which the council should not even be countenancing.”
The two were strongly supported by Cllr Arwel Lloyd, who has led the party’s campaign against the plan to charge for parking in Lammas Street. “Our campaign has drawn huge support,” he said. “After seeing the strength of opposition to the proposals for Lammas Street, I find it incredible that they could even consider charging for parking on Sundays – something which will affect even more people than the Lammas Street proposals. The people in Carmarthen will be up in arms at the very idea – I can promise them that they’ll have another fight on their hands if they try and implement this proposal.”
Plaid’s other county councillors for Carmarthen Town, Gareth Jones and Alan Speake, also pledged their full support for the campaign to stop this proposal.