FREE parking in towns across Ceredigion could keep our town centres bustling, says Plaid Cymru Assembly Member, Elin Jones. Last week, the Party of Wales called on the Welsh Government to set up a new fund to enable local authorities and community groups to offer free car parking in towns throughout Wales to support local shops and businesses.
Elin Jones AM, said: “Wales has more empty shops on its high streets than the rest of the UK, and the Welsh Government could potentially support the high street in order to keep them as a vibrant economic hub.
“We’ve seen the shape of our high streets change over the past few years. Places like Aberystwyth and Cardigan have seen a big turnover in shops. This may be down to more people moving online out of convenience.
“For example, foot fall in Aberystwyth is down by almost 1/5 since 2012. We need that extra incentive to get people in our towns, and free parking could do just that.”
Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government Sian Gwenllian said: “By allowing local authorities and community groups to provide free parking for shoppers, we can help level the playing field for high streets and get shoppers back there. Plaid Cymru wants to see the Welsh Government set up a fund to help local authorities cover this cost.
“And we can do even more. We can lower business rates for small businesses and bring 70,000 of them out of paying rates altogether, and we can try to plug the £500 million funding gap that small businesses face by establishing a properly funded Welsh Development Bank, in order to lend to small businesses and help them grow.
“We can’t overlook how important the high street is for the wellbeing of a local area. A bustling high street often indicates a vibrant local economy, so it’s important that we do all we can to save the high street.”