The Welsh Conservatives’ call for councils to introduce free parking schemes to revive high streets has been welcomed by the NFRN.

The party reaffirmed its commitment to more flexible parking last week and called for all councils to publish annual reports showing how much they make from parking charges following reports that Welsh councils made £9m last year.

William Graham AM, Welsh Conservative shadow minister for regeneration, said: “Free parking is the key to high street revival. The evidence clearly shows that when parking is easy, footfall soars.”

The NFRN said it will raise the issue in its forthcoming Welsh Agenda document.

Matthew Clark, NFRN South Wales district president, said: “High streets have become empty voids where there used to be a vibrant assortment of retailers because consumers have been tempted away to out-of-town developments with their abundance of free parking and hassle-free shopping.

“It is vital that we correct this imbalance and that councils do more to support the recovery of our high streets, restoring them to desirable destinations that shoppers are drawn back to.”