A FRUSTRATED business owner is calling for the cost of parking permits for traders to be reduced.

Felix Elkin, owner of plumbing company Pipeworks Plus in Brighton, said he has had enough of the “extortionate” parking charges imposed by the city council.

Mr Elkin, 42, who started the company three years ago, has launched a petition to demand a reduction in parking permit charges for businesses.

He said: “Parking cost is definitely a hot potato for Brighton. A few weeks ago I was having conversations on Facebook and people were complaining about how expensive it is to park.

“So I decided to do something about it. I started a petition and so far more than 70 people have signed it.

“As a small business, I pay £700 a year for a trader’s permit, which ends at 5.30pm from Monday to Friday. I need to pay a further £130 to park in my street between 5pm and 8pm because sometimes we have emergency jobs. This is both unfair and extortionate.

“Most of my jobs are in Brighton and even though I pay for the permit I am not always guaranteed a parking spot because parking is a big problem.

“Places like the North Laine, Brunswick Place, Lansdowne Street and central Hove are the worst places for parking. Sometimes I end up driving around for 30 minutes until I find a place.”

According to a study by insurance provider Direct Line, Brighton and Hove City Council is the seventh most expensive authority for trader’s parking permits.

Mr Elkin said other places in Sussex such as Seaford, Lancing and Horsham are cheaper than Brighton and Hove. Before starting his business, he worked for a firm in Bromley and saideven places in Birmingham are cheaper than Brighton.

He said: “Last year I was in a job in Croydon for six months as I was working in a new property for three days a week. The parking charges there was £12 a day. So really, what excuses does this council have? We also pay more for residents’ parking than most London boroughs.

“We see no need for the charges levied to be this high. We wish you to consider reducing the permit costs by at least 50 per cent bringing them in line with the rest of the country, making resident zones free on Sundays and bank holidays and bringing the prescribed hours down from 8pm to 6pm.

“We understand that there is a need to stop tourists parking in resident areas but fail to see the need for charges this high for residents and businesses.”

To see the petition, go to present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgePetitionListDisplay.aspx?bcr=1