Calls for two hours free parking in Cardigan in the morning have been quashed.
Town councillors - and local traders - backed the idea in a bid to bring more shoppers into town.
But a lengthy letter from Ceredigion's highways department poured cold water on the scheme.
"The introduction of free parking would present operational difficulties and inefficiencies," said the letter read out at this week's town council meeting.
"The scheme may unfortunately be open to disrepute and abuse. Operationally it would cost the council more money to administer and control," it continued.
And it added: "There is unfortunately no firm corrobation that the economy would benefit from such a move."
But town councillors disagreed.
"It's happening elsewhere," said Cllr Llwyd Edwards.
And councillors pointed out that Cardigan had to cope with competition from cheaper car parking in neighbouring Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
"We are a unique case in Cardigan," said Cllr Mark Cole.
And Cllr Edwards added: "Something has to be done about parking in Cardigan."