Council officers have been urged to “adjust” rather than scrap free Christmas parking.

Gwynedd Council announced in early January it was looking to end the festive concession in a bid to save around £45,000.

A report claimed at least a third of available spaces were being taken up by commuters rather than shoppers.

However, several of the council’s communities scrutiny committee members urged officers to retain festive parking but introduce it earlier and make it available at weekends only.

Cllr Catrin Wager told the Caernarfon meeting: “Is there a potential for us to change, rather than get  rid of the free parking, where it would be in operation only on weekends perhaps from Black Friday onwards.

“In my view this would have more of a beneficial impact and end up being cheaper for the council too.”

Cllr Steve Churchman added: “If we bring in a time threshold, say 9:30am or 10am onwards, this should stop the commuter parking and would free up spaces for shoppers.

“That’s something we should consider.”

The future of the scheme, has yet to be decided but the department has set itself a task of generating an extra £180,000 in income over the coming three years.

This is despite income having already risen by 38 per cent over recent years – from £1.92m in 2014/15 to £2.65m in 2017/18, which makes up almost half of the authority’s annual £6m spend on managing and maintaining the roads network.

Measures are also in the pipeline to bring in more cashless payment machines.

Officers are now set to design a new plan, providing councillors with a range of options over the coming months before the new strategy is implemented to make the savings needed.

Many traders are convinced free festive parking does have a positive effect including Endaf Cooke, a former county councillor who runs Caernarfon’s J & C Chip shop, who said: “Businesses on high streets across Wales are already struggling and there are 11 empty shops on Caernarfon’s Pool Street as it is. Both Gwynedd Council and the Welsh Government need to wake up and see what’s happening, Tesco and other out of town outlets are able to offer free parking.

“We need more help, not barriers thrown in our way.”