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Parking ‘summer season’ starts early in Brighton and Hove
Snow may have been on the ground a week ago, and the Easter holidays are still not under way.
But for Brighton and Hove City Council’s parking team, summer has already started.
After listening to public outcry and The Argus’s Park The Charges campaign, the local authority agreed to reduce its £20-a-day tariffs in Madeira Drive on Brighton seafront.
However, to ensure it does not lose out on revenue, council bosses moved the start of the traditional summer season from April 1 to March 1.
With charges rising from £1 to £3 an hour overnight, some motorists have complained that the new policy has left them out of pocket.
Manny Weinstein, of Shanklin Road, Brighton, said: “I can understand that a busy city like ours needs a parking strategy.
“But a seafront parking charge hike of huge proportions, just in time for the Easter visitors, smacks of opportunism and verges on blatant profiteering. Where’s the strategy in that?”
Winter charges for the seafront stretch west of the Madeira Lift are £1 for an hour, £2 for two hours and £7 for 11 hours.
Last year summer charges, which ran from April 1 to the end of September, were £3.50 for an hour, £6 for two hours and £20 for 11 hours.
The council has since changed this to £3, £5 and £15 respectively, but has extended the season by two months, from March to October.
Conservative councillor Graham Cox said: “In what seems like the longest winter for years it is absolute folly to be bringing in summer charges now, particularly with the Easter break just around the corner.
"Once again, this is all about maximising revenue for the council rather than trying to encourage visitors and help local businesses.
“It adds to the impression once again that visitors to Brighton are being ripped off.”
A council spokeswoman said the change was to “offset the impact of the reduced tariff”.
She added: “At the end of last year the council worked constructively with the seafront traders on Madeira Drive and hoteliers in New Steine to reach a solution on parking charges.
“It resulted in the council reducing charges in the high tariff area by 22%.”
She added the charges had been advertised, covered by the media and agreed at a public meeting.
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