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Brighton and Hove traders prompt parking fee rethink
Controversial parking price hikes could be reversed after businesses said they were hitting trade.
Brighton and Hove City Council has said it will look again at parking charges on the seafront which it doubled less than a month ago.
The council will also consider making further changes to its parking tariffs as the tourist season develops.
The comprehensive raising of parking charges was first revealed by The Argus last November.
Yesterday’s u-turn came in the wake of a city-wide survey which found that 43 per cent of businesses said they had suffered financially because of the charges.
More than 48 per cent said that their customers were cutting spending in the city because of higher parking fees.
The Brighton and Hove parking survey was organised by the city’s Tourism Alliance with the co-operation of Brighton and Hove Hoteliers Association, Hove Business Association, North Laine Traders Association, Brighton Business Improvement District (BID), the Let's Do Business exhibition, Deans Business Club and Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce.
More than 200 business owners responded to the survey.
Claire Ottewell, the chair of the Tourism Alliance said: "We organised the survey last week in response to businesses’ genuine concerns about the impact of the parking charge changes on the visitor economy.
"The parking charges issue has demonstrated that we collectively need to revisit park and ride options, and for stakeholders to be consulted more fully by the council in the future."
Gavin Stewart, the managing director of Brighton BID, said the survey was representative of traders across the city.
He said: “Owners and managers are highly anxious that the increase in parking charges will be detrimental to their business by making the city inaccessible to many travelling by car.
“Many already struggling businesses have reported reduced trade since the increase has come in and they are overwhelmingly calling for a u-turn on the increases before it’s too late.”
Paul Yates-Smith, the owner and operator of Deans Business Club, said: “The Green approach has lost touch with common sense. It’s no good just attacking the motorist with no thought-out plan. We need to reopen a serious debate about park and ride in the city.”
Andrew Nichol, the chair of Hove Business Association, said: “I think the results speak for themselves. Obviously the starting point would be consultation and to my knowledge, none was carried out. From the evidence presented, the business community has been completely ignored.”
Council leader Bill Randall said: “Following conversations with businesses and residents, we are looking again at the seafront charges. We are monitoring parking patterns as the tourist season gets underway. Our central purpose remains the same - to curb traffic congestion and vehicle pollution in the city centre by encouraging visitors to use car parks in less-congested areas.”
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