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Parking fees:Brighton seafront traders lobby
Buy this photo » Madeira Drive traders Neil Sykes, Greg Harman and Sonia Canalas read about the reduced parking charges in London Road
Pressure is mounting on Brighton and Hove City Council to further reduce parking charges across the city.
Civic bosses announced on Monday that charges in the London Road area would be cut from as early as next month.
Now desperate traders in Madeira Drive are asking for a similar lifeline after “the worst summer of business ever”.
Visitors who park along the seafront road to visit iconic tourist attractions such as the Palace Pier and the Brighton Wheel are being forced to cough up £20 for 11 hours’ parking – and it must all be paid in coins.
Previously they shelled out £10 for nine hours and £7 for six hours on last year’s summer rate.
Greg Harman, 51, who runs the Madeira Café, said: “It’s great news about the London Road area but now I hope to see the same for Madeira Drive.
"I ask the council: please try and support the local businesses.
"We are your life blood, we all pay our rent and we all contribute as we’re told, so please do something for us.
“We’ve had one victim already in the Beach Café – the keys have been handed back by the owner and he’s had to shut up shop.
“If the charges aren’t reduced it could be the first victim in a long line of struggling businesses.”
Artist Sonia Canals, 45, runs an art gallery and studio in Madeira Drive. She said: “I just hope they reduce the parking charges to a reasonable level so people can enjoy the city and the shopping as they should.
"Drivers are also annoyed that they have to find £20 in pound coins.”
Other business owners fear neighbouring towns and cities will benefit from the dwindling numbers of day-trippers since the new charges came into effect.
Neil Sykes, 44, who owns the Modern World Gallery on Madeira Drive, said: “It’s killed the whole summer, no doubt about it.
“Not just for the traders but for the public too who have been coming for years and years.
“They’re saying they’re not coming back to Brighton because they refuse to pay £20 to park. It’s hard to disagree with them.
"They park up in Madeira Drive, get the kids and prams out the car, go to the parking meters and then you see them packing their stuff up again and driving off.”
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 had stood by the increases, claiming they would reduce congestion and push people towards other forms of transport.
But on Monday, December 3 council chiefs revealed charges in the London Road area would be cut from as early as next month.
And parking bosses said other concessions could follow as part of a widespread review in the new year.
Green Councillor Ian Davey, chairman of the council’s transport committee, said the changes to London Road had been made after listening to traders’ concerns.
Conservatives sitting on Brighton and Hove City Council welcomed the news but called called for further cuts.
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