South West Wales

Dylan Thomas town Laugharne could lose free parking

The Strand car park Image copyright Google
Image caption People currently park where they want and for how long they want on the Strand.

A Carmarthenshire town is at risk of losing its reputation for free parking.

Visitors to Laugharne have always enjoyed free parking on the Strand, but planning permission for 13 new homes on the high street could be about to change that privilege.

Carmarthenshire council is looking to fund a 61-space car park as part of the development and charge people to park.

But, controversially, that would mean bringing the Strand in line with a pay and display too.

The plans have divided the town - the home of Dylan Thomas - but Laugharne Township Community Council is backing the idea, saying it will help generate income.

Special place

John Bradshaw, Portreeve of Laugharne, is surprised at the amount of "heat" the issue has generated.

"Wherever I go these days I expect to pay for parking," he said.

"Laugharne is special because we don't pay for parking, but that's not the only thing that's special. The boathouse is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Carmarthenshire."

Mr Bradshaw added it was their intention that locals would not have to pay for car parking on the Strand.

"If locals want to come and walk their dog they can still do that for free," he said.

Bob Stevens was one of two community councillors who voted against the introduction of the parking charges on the Strand.

"We have 300 letters from people saying they are against it," he said.

"The car park is higglety pigglety. It's the way it always has been. Leave it alone.

"We have created walks around Laugharne to attract people. They don't want to be looking at their watch worrying that they will come back to a £60 ticket."

Councillor Stevens is hoping the community council will change its mind when it meets on Thursday, 14 April.

In the meantime the plans are subject to a public consultation until the end of May.

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