NEWPORT city councillors will tonight hear a motion in support of our campaign to keep city centre parking free for the first two hours.

We would like to take this opportunity to point out that this is a campaign which has really caught the public imagination in Newport.

In just over two weeks since we launched the fight to keep what we see as a really successful initiative in support of our hard-pressed city centre traders we have collected more than 4,000 signatures.

That is no mean feat and it illustrates the strength of feeling about this whole issue. People in Newport are really concerned about what they see as a backwards step for the city.

It is not just about the decision itself, which is bad enough, but it is also about the negative message it sends out.

Newport is not a city awash with good fortune. It cannot afford to send out a message which will effectively send shoppers elsewhere.

If trying to entice shoppers with the offer of two hours’ free car parking is successful, which the council’s own figures clearly show, then we can not understand why it is being withdrawn.

The council maintains it is all to do with money, but we are not convinced by the numbers being suggested.

We also feel the lack of proper consultation means any possible workable solutions have not been explored.