TODAY we launch a campaign to persuade Newport City Council to reverse its decision to scrap free parking at its city centre car parks.

Ending free parking for the first two hours could be the final strawfor many struggling Newport retailers.

We know all councils, including Newport, are facing tough times as public sector cuts begin to bite.

But removing one of the few stimuli for increasing city centre trade is short-sighted and self-defeating.

Of course providing free parking for any length of time costs public money.

Of course the city council has to balance the needs of all the city’s residents and all the services it provides.

But we are concerned this decision has been taken without consultation.

We are concerned the council trumpeted its decision to provide five hours of free parking at its car parks during the Christmas period without mentioning that all free parking would come to an end in February.

And we are concerned that traders and shoppers had no idea of what was about to happen until we reported it.

That cannot be right.

The council should reconsider its decision. The future of trade in the city centre is too important.

These car parks are not owned by the council – they are owned by you, the council tax payers.

You should have a say in whether you want your money spent on providing free parking for a limited period of time for city centre shoppers.

Today we launch a petition calling for free parking to remain in the council’s car parks. If you agree with our campaign then please sign the petition and let’s use people power to send a message to the city council.

Sign our online petition here

Download a petition form