A POTENTIAL compromise in the free parking argument in Newport has received backing from city centre traders.

The proposed scheme would see the council's £1 charge for three hours parking, which will come into force in February, remain but local shops would offer a £1 discount in their stores. This would either be in the form of a discount on products or by reimbursing shoppers for their parking by giving them a token to pay for their parking as reward for spending over a certain amount.

It is hoped this would also encourage people to use local stores, with the council publicising those traders taking part in the scheme.

Mike Turner, of AD Turners butchers in the market, said: "We'd be behind that. Anything which could help would be welcome.

"My gut feeling is that parking should be free, and we had a great turnout from customers over Christmas and free parking helped that so whatever we can do to keep customers coming while we look at longer term options we'd get behind."

Kelvin Reddicliffe, manager of Timpson, said: "Initially I was set against the idea but speaking to my area manager, I've opened my mind to it a bit more. We need a compromise and I think it seems a good idea."

Alan Edwards, president of Newport Chamber of Trade and owner of Vacara's Fish and Chips, said: "It's a working idea but one we would be happy to implement here. "We've got to build up support for it and get everyone behind it. It's a building block before a Business Improvement District and the Friars Walk development which will all take more time."

But, Sue Williams, owner of the Elbow Room hairdressers did not agree.

She, said: "We are already struggling with not enough people coming into Newport and now we would have to pay for our customers' parking as well."