The council has said free parking would cause "chaos" in the city centre after residents slammed its decision to reduce the cost of two of its car parks over the Christmas period as “too little too late”.

Brighton and Hove City Council announced the price reductions, which will be in place until January 31, at its Chapel Street and London Road car parks earlier this week.

The price of the Chapel Street car park in Kemp Town has been reduced from £8.40 for four hours to £6, and from £11 for nine hours to £9.

And in the London Road car park, the price for four hours has been reduced from £9.70 to £7 and from £14.90 to £11 for nine hours.

The measure comes after council-run car parks in the Arun and Rother District and in Hastings have been made free on certain days and evenings in the run-up to Christmas to encourage shoppers to the towns.

Writing on the Facebook post, Patrick Miller said: “It’s too little too late. Residents and visitors alike are going to go elsewhere for cheaper parking and a town that’s more welcoming.”

Cameron Ellis added: “During the winter months, parking should be free for the first four hours, then a small charge for the next two hours and then regular tariff, return prohibited within 24 hours.

“This way you keep the car parks busy.”

Lynne Bateman said: “Sorry but that’s not going to help people or businesses who need shoppers to come. If you’re going to do something make sure it’s going to make a difference. At least half price, preferably less.”

The chairman of the council’s transport and sustainability committee, Councillor Trevor Muten, said: “We’ve temporarily reduced the prices at these two car parks as they are less used than other city centre car parks.

“So we want to encourage people to use them instead of other city centre car parks that are incredibly busy, particularly during the festive season.

“We have no control over what private car parks such as Churchill Square charge.

“In general terms, making parking free in our city centre would lead to chaos and gridlock.

“This reduced rate half day and all day parking offer aims to encourage people to leave their cars parked in the same place for longer.

“This is very good news for people who want to shop or enjoy the restaurants, theatres, tourist attraction, city parks and seafront.

“It is also very good news for local businesses, encouraging more people to come to our city centre during trading hours.

“We have more plans to reform parking in our city with the outcomes of the ongoing parking review expected in 2024.

“Reduced parking rates in our council-run Chapel Street and London Road car parks is a signal Brighton and Hove is open for business.”