THE free parking trial in Newcastle Emlyn is having a positive effect on the town but the lack of banking facilities is still proving a real headache.

It is free to park in council-run car parks between 10am-2pm from Mondays to Wednesdays in an initiative being run by Carmarthenshire County Council in a bid to support local traders.

Cllr Hazel Evans told a meeting of the town council that six towns in Carmarthenshire has been selected for the free parking days and the only one in the county to show an increase in footfall was Newcastle Emlyn.

“The idea is that Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the quietest days and this can only help to bring people into town,” she added.

Cllr Kelvin Baker said many shops were feeling the pinch and wondered if the scheme could be extended.

Cllr Cefin Evans said: “We have to look at different things to try to support the town now that all the banks have closed. We cannot just say that’s the way it has always been – that’s not good enough.”

Plans to put a cash machine in the old BT kiosk had been put forward.

Mayor Cllr Alan Jones said: “I have been in touch with BT who run a scheme but because we have now bought the kiosk for £1 they cannot touch it. I am now looking at other avenues.

“We definitely need another ATM in the town centre. I have spent hours looking at different options and maybe businesses in the town could get involved.”

Trader Jill Sutton told the meeting that it was not easy for traders at the moment and that the closure of the banks had exacerbated the problem.

“There is only the one cash point in the town centre and there are often queues and then it runs out of money,” she said.

“It is something we are very much concerned about and I don’t know if there is anything the town council can do to help. You can get cash out at the Post Office but I am not sure many people are aware of that.”