RESIDENTS and shop owners in Abergavenny have expressed concern after a rise in parking charges coincided with a number of shops and stalls closing in the town centre.

Some have appealed to the council to rethink its decision to increase parking charges, which went up in Abergavenny last week, and have said that the rises will lead to less people coming to the town centre.

After the price hikes last week, shoppers and commuters will have to pay £1.50 to park for two hours in Abergavenny, £1.90 for three hours, or £2.40 for four hours or more.

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Lucy Hywell, who has owned a business on Frogmore Street in the town for seven years and is also part of the Abergavenny Business Committee, says she has struggled to keep the business going in recent months due to parking charges affecting footfall, and she believes the situation will only get worse unless a change of approach is pursued.

“The council needs to have more thought about the parking process, because at the moment people are avoiding popping into town for a half an hour like they used to,” she said. “That’s because they don’t want to pay the price for two hours – and who can blame them?

“I think there needs to be a rethink, perhaps involving a short stay free car park or prices to reflect the amount of time people are actually here, possibly meaning people can pay on the way out of the car park instead of on the way in.”

Karl Poynter, who is a window cleaner and serves many shops in Abergavenny, says it frightens him how many shops are shutting in the town.

“A good friend of mine who I have chatted to most days for the last 10 years has had to close his stall here this week,” he said. “He was here for 10 years and was used regularly by shoppers until recent months – and now he’s had to pack it in. It is very sad because you become close to people after being around them for so long.

“I come from a family of window cleaners who have served the people of this town since 1926,” he said. “I remember the days where you couldn’t get a space here of a morning.

“We need to be looking at what the high street needs, because it is a frightening situation for anyone who relies on customers for a living in Abergavenny.”

A Monmouthshire County Council spokeswoman said: “The parking charge increases that were implemented from January 8 were agreed as part of the budget set for 2019/20.

“We are currently reviewing our car parking pricing strategy. We are conscious of the potential impact upon town centre footfall and this will be considered as part of the review.”