TWO OF the longest serving stores in Abergavenny are to offer refunds on parking charges in response to Monmouthshire County Council’s decision to increase parking charges earlier this month.

Staff at Revue Men’s Clothing and Fulgoni Opticians – both on Cross Street in Abergavenny town centre – announced plans to refund all charges for those who spend money in their stores.

After the new prices were implemented across most towns and villages in Monmouthshire on Wednesday, January 8, car parking in the town is £1.50 for up to two hours, £1.90 for three hours, or £2.40 for four hours or more.

Retailers and residents alike have appealed to the council to rethink the decision.

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Francesca Fulgoni with her father John Fulgoni, who have been in Abergavenny for 46 years

Francesca Fulgoni, daughter of John Fulgoni who has run the opticians in Abergavenny for 46 years, says she has serious concerns that the parking charge hikes would impact footfall in the area unless retailers pull together in the town.

“I’ve seen the furore since the decision on parking charges was made and everyone seemed furious, and I can understand why," said Ms Fulgoni.


"It doesn’t seem fair that Usk, Cwmbran and other towns don’t have to pay for parking.

“I fear that people might begin to shop elsewhere like Cwmbran. We’re seeing shops closing here regularly because businesses can’t afford it.

“I think we’ll be okay because we’ve developed a loyal custom-base over the years, but the impact on Abergavenny as a whole does worry me.”

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Revue Men's Clothing on Cross Street

Jason Harries, owner of Revue Men’s Clothing which has been a popular store for the people of Abergavenny for over 28 years, says he wants to give something back.

Mr Harries, who is from Cardiff, said people will travel to bigger cities and will be happier to pay the parking fee, but is he unconvinced that will be the case in Abergavenny.

“Abergavenny doesn’t have the Debenhams and the John Lewis – we’re a group of quite niche family-run independent stores and that means that people’s livelihoods are at stake,” he said.

“We’re now at the heart of Cross Street but we used to be at the bottom part, past the Angel Hotel, and it was almost like a ghetto due to neglect by the authorities.

“There were never any lights at Christmas and the area was not appealing in the slightest. It is no wonder that many of those stores are now gone.

“It’s about time that the council stopped this lacklustre approach towards smaller businesses.”

Lucy Hywell, who has owned That’s Lovely That 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.

“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.”

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The owner of this stall had been in Abergavenny for 10 years, but stopped service two weeks ago

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.

“I think part of the issue is also that the town centre has become so pedestrianised. Gone are the days where you could just drive down the high street and pull up next to a shop for five minutes.”