Wardens wearing tabards and holding signs are directing drivers past roadworks and into a city-centre car park.
Managers of the NCP Car Park in Russell Road, Brighton, said they have resorted to using wardens because of losing revenue after part of the A259 Kings Road collapsed due to subsidence in April.
Traffic cannot currently turn right into West Street from the A259, where a temporary system has been in place since April 25.
NCP chiefs believe drivers travelling west along the seafront need signs directing them into the right-turn before West Street – Middle Street – in order to avoid impacting on NCP’s business.
However, the move, which NCP says includes workers standing on footways and traffic islands, has been branded by one disgruntled driver as “aggressive commercialism”.
Nick Clark, who lives in Eastbourne, was being driven into Brighton by his mother. They wanted to park in nearby Churchill Square Car Park, which is cheaper.
Mr Clark said: “We ignored the first warden but ended up waved in by the second one. He was not discretely standing on the pavement – he was in the middle of the road.
Mr Clark says there is a price discrepancy in the city.
“If you don’t know the area you don’t know the different car parks. It is a great technique.”
Nigel Sorensen, NCP’s head of operations for the South Coast, said: “These roadworks are severely affecting our trade. We have to mitigate the effects of them. It is one of those things that any commercial organisation has got to do.”
Mr Sorensen said drivers can always leave if they enter and decide not to stay. He said: “We are always really up-front about it. If there are any suggestions on how to make it easier to find our car park I am willing to hear them.”
NCP does not need permission from Brighton and Hove City Council to deploy its staff in this way.
A spokesman for the council said: “Their actions have not so far posed any problems we are aware of.”
Concerning the ongoing roadworks, he said: “We are very sorry for the time it is taking to address the problems with the A259 in central Brighton, and for the inconvenience it is causing for residents and businesses.”
The roadworks are now expected to be completed by November.
Churchill Square Car Park Up to 2 hours – £3 2-3 hours – £4 3-4 hours – £6 4-6 hours – £10 6-24 hours – £25
NCP Brighton Centre Russell Road 1 hour – £4.20 1-2 hours – £8.20 2-3 hours – £13.20 3-4 hours – £18.20 4-24 hours – £25.20
And for comparison ... NCP London Bridge 1 hour – £4.80 1-2 hours – £9.30 2-3 hours – £12.80 3-4 hours – £17.30 4-24 hours – £21.30