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Parking charge proposals cause town centre unrest

February 16, 2009 8:05 PM
By Jamie Forsyth in Brentwood Weekly News
FLASHBACK: Lib Dem activist Nigel Clarke campaigns against the 2008 car parking charge increases

FLASHBACK: Lib Dem activist Nigel Clarke campaigns against the 2008 car parking charge increases

A car parking price hike is being fiercely opposed by town centre traders.

Lib Dem campaigner Nigel Clarke, who runs The Hair Company in Crown Street, has encouraged his fellow Brentwood businesses to display posters in their windows opposing Brentwood Council's plans to increase council parking charges by up to a third.

Members of the council will decide next Wednesday evening whether to increase charges in all off street car parks in the borough.

It is proposed to increase the cost of an hours parking from 70p to 80p.

However, most of the anger has stemmed from the decision to increase the cost of parking for up to four hours in William Hunter Way and Coptfold Road to £4, up from £3.

The signs, being displayed by several businesses, read: "Say NO to parking charges increase in Brentwood. Another kick in the teeth for local shops and customers."

Mr Clarke, who stood as a candidate for Brentwood West in the local elections last May, said: "Enough is enough. Many of the independent traders in Brentwood also live in the borough and are being hit hard by this stealth tax. I campaigned against the increase in car parking charges last year when I stood for borough council and I am astounded that this year we are seeing a further rise.

"Small and medium businesses, especially those who are local and are supporting the local economy in more ways than one, need the assistance of Brentwood Council, not a further increase that will damage local trade and, potentially, put more retailers out of business."

Conservative councillors have defended the increase, claiming it is unavoidable because of the increased costs faced by the authority.

A vote on the issue will take place at a meeting of the policy board next Wednesday.