Residents in the Cardigan area are not supporting local shops and with the situation compounded by parking issues there are fears that some businesses could cease trading this winter.

Retail outlets are affected by parking fees and despite the town council making strong representations Ceredigion County Council has refused a call for free parking in the town car parks during part of the morning.

It appears that one of the biggest problems for businesses is people preferring to shop in other centres such as Carmarthen and not supporting local outlets.

Donna Davies, who runs The Natural Body Shop at the Cornel Pendre complex on Bathhouse Hill, said she was disillusioned by the response of local people despite her offering a wide variety of goods at cheaper prices than similar shops in other towns.

“I have been open three months and the trade is just not here. Having to pay rent and business rates I need people to come through the door but it has been very disappointing.

“Everything I sell, including natural soaps are hand-made and free from animal testing. Some items are half the price in shops at Carmarthen and Swansea.

“I have spoken to other traders who are also experiencing problems. Now the holiday season is with us things are not so bad but I dread to think what the autumn and winter could bring. If things get too bad I won’t be able to keep going and others feel the same way,” she said.

The county council said that free parking would give rise to operational difficulties and inefficiencies and cost the authority more money to administer and control it.

A spokesperson said “The scheme may unfortunately be open to abuse and there is no firm corroboration that the economy would benefit from free parking.”