CAR parks in Cardigan raised more than £300,000 for Ceredigion County Council in 2018/19 – a third of the total for the entire county.

An overall total of £944,824.50 was generated by Ceredigion County Council’s public car parks - of which Cardigan drivers coughed up £314,907.57.

And following on from another recent hike in charges, the news has been greeted with anger by both the town council and traders.

It now costs £1.50 to park for an hour in the town.

Across the river in St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire CC charge 50p for an hour’s parking in the High Street car park, while at Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire CC charges 70p for an hour and £1 for four hours - with free parking periods on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays to try to encourage visitors.

"Once again local people wanting to support local traders are being hammered," said Cardigan Traders chairman Martin Radley.

"Enough is enough. There has to be a fairer way of doing this as we as businesses are the ones paying the price.

"We are trying so hard to invest in the town and attract people here.

“We have free Wifi, the town app, the maps and information leaflets, all of which traders are supporting and then the county council comes along again and puts up the price of parking.

“We are a market town and slowly but surely people are being driven out of the town centre.”

At a meeting of the town council, Cllr Sian Maehrlein said the fact the machines did not give change made the problem even worse.

“The price of short-term parking is too much and if you don’t have the right change, it becomes even more expensive,” she said.

Town mayor Cllr Shan Williams said: “Considering the size of Cardigan, those figures are shocking and that money does not come back here.

“It does not help the town’s traders compete against the multi-nationals and out of town stores and it’s not right.

“The only car park in town that does not have pay and display is the county council car park and yet they tell us they have to make cuts.

“How many car parking spaces do they have for free in the county? Everyone else in Ceredigion has to pay but if you work for Ceredigion County Council, you can park for free.

“How much revenue is being lost because of this? Do we subsidise county council parking spaces?”

A Ceredigion council spokesman said: “Car park charges are set by the authority’s cabinet as part of the overall fees and charges review and budget setting process.

“In 2018/19 £944,824.50 of revenue was generated by Ceredigion County Council’s public car parks. Of this, £314,907.57 was generated from car parks located in Cardigan.

“In 2018/19, £347,528.04 was spent on the maintenance of the council’s public car park portfolio.

“Any surplus income generated, after expenditure related to the provision of the service, contributes to the overall council budget.

“It is widely accepted that a range of influencers will affect the footfall and parking behaviours in any town centre.

“Significantly discounted season tickets are available for Council managed pay and display car parks; costing from the equivalent of as little as 80p per day to park.

“In addition to the reasonably priced off-street parking offering, the authority currently provides and manages free on-street unrestricted and limited waiting bays which are available on a first come first served basis."