PARKING charges will NOT be reinstated in Cardigan for the time being following a u-turn by Ceredigion County Council – though they have returned across the rest of the county today (Tuesday, December 1).

Ceredigion County Council’s cabinet today received a petition from the Liberal Democrats calling for the reinstating of parking charges to be cancelled but the meeting heard that without reimbursement from Welsh Government, free parking could not continue.

Only Cardigan’s parking will remain free due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in the area and the reintroduction of the town centre safe zone, cabinet member for highways and environmental services Cllr Dafydd Edwards said.

“Welsh Government don’t intend to keep to their word for quarter two, we’re already at a loss of £5-600,000 and can’t let this situation continue so we’re going to charge people for parking from today onwards because we can’t afford not to,” he added.

The petition has been signed by more than 1,100 people and calls for the charges to be scrapped “to help our economy weather the storm of this pandemic.”

The council’s free parking for Saturdays in the run up to Christmas will be in place for the rest of the county.

Where possible, card payments will also be used for parking to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

Cardigan liberal democrat county councillor Elaine Evans, one of those behind the petition, welcomed the decision.

“I am over the moon that common sense has prevailed and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in organising the petition and those who supported it,” said Cllr Evans, who hoped the decision would be extended to other areas of the county.

“Businesses in the town are struggling and we have to try to get behind them at this difficult time and support them. Feelings have been running high and I am glad that cabinet has taken all this into consideration.”

Julian Beynon-Lewis, acting chairman of Cardigan Traders, said: “It is good news for businesses in the town who are really struggling.

“They are taking every precaution to ensure people stay safe and I would encourage people to please support their local high street.”

Updating cabinet members on the situation in the county, Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn said the situation in Ceredigion had “deteriorated considerably” with 108 cases in the county in one week.

“We have to ask the people of Cardigan and the area that they take extra care that they keep to the rules and regulations,” she added.

A number of schools in the area had closed and there had been cause for other schools to have class or year bubbles self-isolated, with discussions about the last week of teaching before Christmas underway with unions.

“There is hope but we need to be very careful in the meantime, we need to ensure we are safe in order to be here to get that vaccine,” said Cllr ap Gwynn.