Gosport business owners angry as parking charges increase

Lee-on-the-Solent traders are concerned about the parking charge increase. From left, Cat Wimbledon, Hannah Elliott, Alex Boodhram, Karen Jones, Chris Dewey, Debbie Watts, Suzanne Nunn, Ann Havenhand, Gail Palin, Sue Kirk and Jamie Harbut. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143548-1)
Lee-on-the-Solent traders are concerned about the parking charge increase. From left, Cat Wimbledon, Hannah Elliott, Alex Boodhram, Karen Jones, Chris Dewey, Debbie Watts, Suzanne Nunn, Ann Havenhand, Gail Palin, Sue Kirk and Jamie Harbut. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (143548-1)
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

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TRADERS have said business will be damaged when parking charges increase.

Gosport Borough Council is increasing car park tickets by up to £1 – with permits also going up in price.

But shop owners in Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent have warned it will cut business.

Gail Palin, manager at Lee Florist, said: ‘It will drive customers to shop at the bigger stores where parking is free and it will stop the enjoyment of the seafront where many people come just to sit.’

Peter Paterson, of All Seasons Fruit and Veg, added: ‘I feel the council is not working with traders on the increase of parking fees.

‘It’s negative and detrimental to the interest of all those working hard to maintain a popular High Street.’

The new fees are due to come in from January 1.

It comes just two weeks after firms in Lee-on-the-Solent marked Small Business Saturday in a bid to promote local firms over larger chains.

And shops are still reeling after HSBC announced it will close in Lee-on-the-Solent – it was the last bank in the town.

Debbie Watts, chairwoman of Lee Business Association, said this latest announcement will damage the town.

She said: ‘If it’s not enough that we now have no bank in the High Street and only one cash point machine, which is not good for trade, there is now going to be a huge increase in the parking fees.

‘This will not encourage customers to shop local.’

Council leader Mark Hook has said the authority faces a £700,000 cut in cash for its next budget with more to come.

Cllr Hook said: ‘We have to make decisions on how to keep the council tax as it is.

‘We are one of the cheapest for parking in the area.’

Lin Wilson, chairwoman of Gosport’s Town Team, said she wants to see car parking charges axed entirely.

But she said: ‘She said: ‘I feel that this should not cause too much concern in 2015.

‘Many people think nothing of spending a whopping £2-£3 on a cup of coffee or tea, so 10p is really not a lot.’

Short-stay car parks cost 30p an hour and will go by 10p. Long-stay car parks cost 70p an hour and will go up to 80p.

Long-stay charging £4 for more than five hours will go up to £5.

Mumby Road Bus Station car park costs 80p an hour but will go up 20p to £1 an hour.

Coates Road Car Park will have a new 20p for 30 minutes charge. Long-stay permits will go up to £45 for one month, up from £40; £130 for three months up from £110; £250 for six months, up from £210 and £450 a year, up from £400.