Council officials have been branded Scrooge-like for not cutting parking charges this Christmas.

Brighton and Hove City Council claims offering discounts on its tariffs in the run-up to the festive season will cause too much congestion and pollution.

This is despite a council scrutiny report presented earlier this year recommending “special parking offers” as a way to boost the struggling retail sector.

With the majority of other towns across Sussex offering some concessions, business owners slammed the decision, claiming it would drive shoppers elsewhere.

However, the local authority maintained people could still visit the city by using more sustainable methods such as the bus or train.

Peter Allinson, of North Laine Traders’ Association, said: “People love us but we need to make sure they continue to love us.

“We cannot just rely on our name alone. Of course the environment is important but we have to make a living.”

Parking deals

In previous years the local authority has offered cut-price deals in one of its city centre car parks.

The decision comes in the wake of the Green-led council hiking tariffs across the city from April to as much as £20 a day to try to reduce congestion.

Conservative councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “We’re calling for the Greens to give traders the ideal Christmas present over the festive period by reducing parking charges, particularly after all the damage they have caused.”

Labour councillor Warren Morgan said: “Local shops and businesses have been slapped in the face by the Greens who lack not just Christmas spirit but also any real understanding of the local economy.”

Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said: “It appears while other towns are getting into the Christmas spirit, Brighton and Hove is acting like Scrooge.”

The local authority said it was “keen to support” traders and was funding an expert to offer independent traders window dressing tips.

Reduced tariffs

A spokeswoman added it was running a competition to find the best Christmas lights display in George Street, Hove.

But Ann Townshend, who owns a shop in London Road, Brighton, said: “This council does not have a clue about business and it doesn’t really care.”

Other towns across Sussex are already advertising their reduced Christmas tariffs.

Newhaven, Crawley and Seaford will have free parking, in Horsham there will be free parking on Thursdays and Sundays, in parts of Mid Sussex it will be £1 all day and in Worthing it will be 10p an hour.

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