The potential for more free parking pilot initiatives for council run car parks in Carmarthenshire are to be explored.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, has asked officers to look at opportunities to trial free parking schemes to see what effect it has on our town centres.
It is part of a range of measures the council is looking at to support town centre traders and increase footfall.
The council has already undertaken several free parking trials in town centres, and currently supports free parking on up to five days a year for all town centres to promote key events.
In Llanelli, working with the local Business Improvement District, the council piloted free parking after 3pm in 2015, and ‘park for a pound’ on Saturdays at the town’s multi-storey car park in the run up to Christmas 2017.
It has also implemented free limited waiting bays at pick up and drop off points in the town centres.
The council will now use Welsh Government funding to support new free parking pilots, which will be developed in partnership with the existing town centre business forums and measured to assess the impact it has on footfall and trade.
Cllr Evans has made the call after reflecting on an earlier decision to use the funding to upgrade pay and display machines so that they accept card payments. The council will now use its own capital programme funding to modernise the machines.
“On reviewing the letter issued by Welsh Government I am proposing to introduce other measures to ensure the funding is spent in the spirit it was primarily intended for,” she said.
“I have asked officers to explore opportunities for a parking offer to include a pilot for free car parking and bring a new proposal to me for decision.
“It is still our ambition to modernise meters in line with the wishes of traders and local business forums, and we will proceed with the introduction of a ‘pay on exit’ initiative at Llanelli’s multi-storey car park as the first phase of this programme.
“Other elements of the modernisation programme, to upgrade our machines so they accept card payments, will be funded from our capital programme.”