1:50pm Tuesday 4th December 2012
By Tim Ridgway
Traders and motorists are celebrating after a town hall U-turn on parking prices – with bosses admitting more concessions could follow.
Thousands of people have complained about Brighton and Hove City Council’s parking tariffs after it hiked city centre prices to £3.50 an hour.
Despite many firms, some of which claimed they were on the verge of going bust, backing The Argus’s Park The Charges campaign, the local authority’s Green administration has stood by the increases, claiming they would reduce congestion and push people towards other transport.
But yesterday (December 3) council chiefs revealed charges in the London Road area would be cut from as early as next month. Parking bosses said other concessions could follow as part of a widespread review in the new year.
Ann Townsend, who owns premises in London Road, said: “This is really positive news. Without the support of The Argus I’m quite sure we would not have managed these results.”
City centre charges are currently £3.50 for one hour, £6 for two hours and £10 for four hours.
But, after complaints from traders in the London Road area that trade was down by a third, charges have been dropped to £2, £4 and £6 for one, two and four hours.
Council bosses said they had planned to reduce the tariffs in the area from St Peter’s Church to Preston Circus in April but this will be “accelerated”.
The local authority said it means drivers would be paying only 30p more for an hour than in 2011. The 30-minute band, scrapped when the new charges were introduced in April, has not been reinstated.
Damage to trade
Ian Davey, chairman of the council’s transport committee, said the changes had been made after listening to traders’ concerns.
He said: “We recognise that business in the area has suffered over the past couple of decades and we are listening and taking steps to support local companies, particularly traders.”
A statement on behalf of London Road Traders’ Association said: “There is little doubt the increase seriously damaged local trade and drove shoppers away.
"The planned reduction in parking charges will almost certainly bring these customers back, as well as encourage new people.”
Traders in other areas, such as in Madeira Drive, Brighton, where charges are up to £20 a day, are hoping it is a sign of further concessions.
Coun Davey said: “There is an ongoing dialogue with traders in Madeira Drive. We have met with them and are seeking a further meeting before Christmas.”
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