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First parking fees rise in eight years for Lewes
Parking fees are to rise by 10% to help council bosses in Lewes balance the books.
The district council believes that the rise, the first in eight years, will generate an extra £76,000 a year.
Officials say it will simplify the system, while ensuring it remains cheaper than neighbouring areas.
In the future charges will rise in line with the retail prices index (RPI) measure for inflation, which is currently 3.2%.
Critics accused the council of “piling stealth taxes” on residents who use the more than 2,000 spaces at 57 car parks across the district.
While prices will rise overall, from April council bosses will scrap charges on bank holidays across the district.
They will also reduce the charging times in off-street car parks by two hours – from 8am to 6pm currently to 9am to 5pm.
Council leader James Page said: “Parking prices have stayed the same for eight years and will still be cheaper than in neighbouring towns like Bexhill and Burgess Hill.
“Although some people will pay more for longer stays, many will pay less, so we’re putting money back into people’s pockets where we can while generating some much- needed extra income to pay for repairs and other services.”
Town hall bosses said the change of times is to bring the off-street car parks into line with the on-street restrictions, which are enforced by East Sussex County Council.
Currently there are nine tariffs across the district.
Motorists can pay as little as 50p a day, with one hour in Seaford costing either 55p or 90p.
They will be replaced by three tariffs for Lewes and one in Seaford and Newhaven, where an hour will cost 70p.
Liberal Democrat group leader James MacCleary said: “It seems that Tories at all levels are determined to pile stealth taxes on Lewes residents through parking charges.
“It’s hard enough for local businesses in the current environment without seeing parking becoming yet more expensive.
“If the Tory strategy for Lewes is to kill off local businesses and jobs as quickly as possible then they are making the right moves.”
The council said some of the additional £76,000 income, in addition to the £205,000 it expects to receive in 2012/13 from parking fees, will go towards replacing signs and street lines.
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