A DISGRUNTLED visitor to Cardigan has vowed never to return to the town because of its ‘exorbitant’ parking charges.

In an email to town clerk Eleri Maskell, Tony Quince hit out at what he described as the ‘sheer lunacy’ of penalising local traders with such a ‘militant’ approach to parking.

In her reply, Mrs Maskell pointed out that all parking charges and fines did not come under the jurisdiction of the town council and were, in fact, managed by Ceredigion County Council. She assured Mr Quince she had forwarded his email for their attention.

Mr Quince explained that he and his wife had driven to Cardigan in their camper van where they enjoyed a six-day stay until receiving a parking fine during a visit to the town centre.

“We duly paid our £9.20 which, you must agree, is exorbitant for a two-hour visit,” he said.

“I did not want to risk the safety of other drivers by parking my camper in a car parking spot so I used the HGV and bus spot, of which there were four, all empty at the time.

“With the weather being so bad, I said to my wife: “This is the safest place to park; we won't be long and I can't see too many vehicles requiring these places at this time of day, at this time of year, in this weather.

“We spent money in the eatery, the craft fair, the butcher and the charity shops.

“To then return back to our vehicle and find a fine for £70 (reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days and we have now paid) means I spent almost £50 for the privilege of bringing trade to your town.

“I am only sending this email to offer some constructive feedback as to (in my opinion) the sheer lunacy of penalising local traders with such a militant approach to visitors re parking and also that I plan to come back to the area, but will never return to spend my hard-earned money in the town in future.”

In a further email, Mr Quince added: “I don't understand why any council – my local one included – would want to throw hurdles like parking charges in front of local traders.

“And we wonder why small to medium-sized businesses on high streets continue to struggle?”

Back in the summer of 2015, Cardigan traders famously reported an unexpected shopping boom after vandals put parking machines in all four main town car parks out of action. Cardigan Traders subsequently fought a long, but ultimately unsuccessful battle to try and convince Ceredigion County Council of the value of limited periods of free parking in raising footfall.