TRADERS across the city centre are backing our campaign to ‘Keep City Parking Free.’ 

At AD Turner’s butchers in Newport Market, the staff were adamant that the loss of free parking would impact on business.

Butcher Mike Turner, who has worked on the market for 27 years, said: “We need people to be able to get to us, and with the gas works on the High Street, the changes they are making to the bus station affecting the car park there, and the market renovation, we already feel like a castle with a moat around us.

“The two hours free parking has made a hell of a difference so to get rid of that would be a massive blow.

“The car is here to stay, so everywhere needs car parks. Look at Spytty retail park, why do people go there? Because it’s got a massive free car park.

“The council has taken no notice of our concerns and we need a big voice like the Argus to help us.

“This is one of the best Victorian markets in the country and if they are not careful they are going to kill it.”

“They are kicking us while we are down and not giving us a chance to get up again,” agreed Steve Reynolds, who runs Toy Army in the market.

“Introducing the two hours free parking is one of the only good things the councils have done for us recently.

“Look at the money they wasted taking the taxis to court and yet they can’t afford this.

“My takings are down because of all the work they are doing here. The last couple of weeks I haven’t been able to pay myself a wage, so to make it even worse by getting rid of the free parking is unbelievable.

“We never see any of them down here so how can they say they understand?

“Newport’s a city and yet Cwmbran is beating us for trade hands down. They say you can’t compare us with Cwmbran Shopping because they use the rents but at the end of the day that’s who we are competing against for shoppers.”

Joe Roberts, the owner of Cedars café on Skinner Street, said: “Anything which can help bring people into the city centre is something we would back, we need to encourage people to come to the city centre.”

Paul Merrett, who works at Arnolds Electrical on Skinner Street, one of Newport’s most established stores, said: “The two hours free parking has made a big difference, it makes it easier for people to come into the city centre and we’ve been very happy with it.

“Getting rid of it is going to put people off coming in.

“Look at the money they have wasted on other projects like Mariners Green.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice what they’ve done, but it was nice before, so if they were running out of money why did they do that?” ‘