Shopkeepers in Newtown have accused Powys County Council of "sour grapes" after a row broke out over a car park near Ladywell Shopping Centre.

Earlier this week the county council issued a statement and put up signs around the short-stay 'Pay and Display' car park on New Street saying it would close to the public next Friday, September 28, after the council gave up it's lease early to new landlords Evabuild Ltd.

But Evabuild have said the car park will remain open, with business owners in the nearby Ladywell Shopping Centre left fuming at the council's statement, which they say could have a detrimental affect on footfall in the area.

In a letter penned to PCC, shared with the County Times this week, a delegation of business owners from the area said the statement was designed to prevent loss of revenue for the council, and had little regard for the businesses affected.

"Is it a case of sour grapes on PCC's part as they will no longer receive any revenue from the car park?" it said.

"The detrimental affect on these businesses is enormous. Is it PCC's desire to see even more small businesses in Newtown collapse and fail?

"Should they not be promoting the convenience and choice and expertise offered by these businesses instead of making people think they will no longer be able to operate due to the car park being closed?"

Signs placed at the entrance to the car park said shoppers could use the council's other paid car parks at Back Lane or Gravel Lane.

In the council's statement Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: "We’ve been asked to surrender the lease to this car park early by the landlord, which we have agreed to. This means that it will close as a public pay and display car park towards the end of the month.

"The pay and display machine and signage will be removed on the morning of Friday, September 28.

"Although this car park will close, there is adequate parking spaces in the two long-stay car parks in the town at Back Lane and Gravel Lane for drivers to use."

A representative from Evabuild said the car park would remain open as a  car park for the foreseeable future for drivers wanting to avoid the county council parking charges.

"The car park is not closing and will remain open for the immediate future," they said.

"We purchased the Ladywell Centre around 12 months ago as a project, with a view to regenerating that area of Newtown. Discussions on the longer-term future of the site are still ongoing."