FOLLOWING more than a year of reports and negotiations Abergele now can now offer free parking to shopper this Christmas.

The town's parking spaces on Water Street, at the library on Market Street and Pensarn Beach will be free to use until March 2021 after an agreement was reached between Abergele Town Council (ATC) and Conwy County Borough Council.

The three year agreement comes after initial annual income estimates of £117,000 for the three sites combined - calculated in a consultant survey commissioned by CCBC - were disputed by members of ATC as well as Town and county councillor Andrew Wood, who spearheaded negotiations and has written eight reports since October 2017 on the revenue of the car parks.

Cllr Wood welcomed the breakthrough: "It's absolutely fantastic. We are very pleased with the agreement which goes on until March 2021, which means people can have the opportunity to get used to being able to just pop in to town in the morning or afternoon and leave their cars.

"Residents can park in Pensarn, for free, visit the beaches, go for a cycle or walk the dog and enhance their wellbeing - which is the key here.

"People can also use the cafes and arcades and stay as long as they want - within reason - allowing the businesses to stay open throughout Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

"As example of some of the businesses that will be uplifted,we're something n of a hairdressing capital of North Wales, with more stylists, barbers and hairdressers than even Colwyn bay, which can continue to thrive with sustained footfall.

"It's also particularly important that this has rolled out just before Christmas, so people can park fro free and use the town's churches.

"What this means is Abergele is now the only major town in the county with three car parks open for free for three years - which makes us unique."

Currently car parks in Colwyn Bay, Conwy and Llandudno operate pay and display machines.

Cllr Wood confirmed that the agreed upon price between both councils is a "fraction" of the original asking price, and that Victor Turner, officer for CCBC's environment, roads and facilities department has also committed to £15,000 towards upgrades across the three sites in a ATC meeting on Monday, November 26.

Cllr Wood added: "What really broke the deadlock was the Welsh Government conducted their own survey from July 2017 until March this year of revenue from the car parks, after they made their report in June CCBC saw how far off the consultant's report was in its estimates."

A spokesperson fro ATC said: "Abergele Town Council is pleased to announce that as of Saturday, December 1 Water Street, Market Street and the Pensarn Promenade car parks will be free of change for all residents, shoppers and visitors to the town in an effort to improve the visitor experience and boost trade in the town.

"Following months of negotiations between the Conwy County Borough Council and Abergele Town Council, the Town Council is pleased to announce that it is now the official sponsor of the Market Street, Water Street and Pensarn Promenade car parks."

A spokesperson fro CCBC said: "CCBC has accepted sponsorship from Abergele Town Council to provide parking that is free at the point of use at the Water Street, Market Street and Pensarn car parks until the end of March 2021."

It is understood by The Journal that while the car parks will be free of charge, current waiting restriction will still apply.