ALMOST 2,000 shoppers and traders have signed a petition against plans to double parking charges in a high street.

The Lewes Chamber of Commerce and Lewes town councillors delivered the petition to East Sussex County Council, pictured right, after it proposed increasing charges in the town’s High Street.

Under the proposals, a 15-minute stay would double from 50p to £1.

Two hours’ parking would increase from £4 to £7.80.

Clare Crouch, president of the chamber of commerce, said: “Parking charges impact on how long visitors remain in Lewes and how much they spend here.

“Businesses are already struggling with the high rents and rates in the town.

“Perhaps the county council should be looking at ways to support and promote the local business community in a more positive manner.”

Town councillor Janet Baah said the increase would be “bad news” for businesses in the town.

“The higher cost of parking will deter people from visiting traders in the centre of Lewes,” she said.

“This increase is really bad news for hard-pressed businesses who are already facing rent increases and online competition.”

More than 130 businesses on Lewes High Street objected to the increases.

Some traders have argued parking should be free for half an hour to encourage shoppers to make a quick visit to the town.