Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has welcomed the lifting of parking charges in some valleys towns.
The news come after a new initiative in town centre parking that was agreed between the Welsh government and Plaid Cymru.
The Plaid Cymru Leader negotiated £3 million to be set aside for local authorities apply for in order to get rid of parking charges in town centres. This will enable town centres to compete with free parking in our of town developments and should be a significant boost for small businesses and footfall.
This was among a series of policies negotiated by the Plaid Cymru group in the National Assembly for Wales in return for them supporting the Labour Government’s budget.
Penygraig-based Ms Wood said she had seen first-hand the detrimental effect of parking charges.
“Tonypandy used to be a thriving town but it has suffered decline in recent years,” said Ms Wood.
“It's unrecognisable now to what I remember it being during the 1980s. The opening of a large supermarket, with free parking hadn't helped. Free parking has obviously been more attractive than paying in the town centre.
“It is because of the decline in town centres like Tonypandy that Plaid Cymru has, for years, been calling upon RCT Council to abolish the town centre parking charges. Ideally, they would provide free parking for a limited number of hours, to avoid the spaces being used by people who want to park all day.
“RCT Council ignored our calls and the voices of the small business community over these years. I understand their budget constraints, which is why it was great to be able to finally do something about this issue in the Assembly budget negotiations.
“An extra £3 million for free town centre parking can only be good news for struggling town centres throughout the country.
“This scheme has the potential to have a significant impact on the fortunes of all the small business owners, and their employees, whose livelihoods depend on a thriving high street. Even in opposition, Plaid Cymru is delivering on our election promises and we will continue to seek the best deal for people in Wales and our economy.”
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