CONTROVERSIAL plans to increase parking charges across Havant borough were approved last night.
The Conservative cabinet voted to approve the hikes to generate an extra £180,000 to plug a shortfall in the budget.
It came despite pleas from business leaders and local councillors in Emsworth to scrap the plan because it would be a blow to struggling independent shops.
More than a dozen council car parks will get an increase from 70p to 80p for an hour and £1.50 to £1.60 for two hours.
But in South Street, Emsworth, and Wellington Way, Waterlooville, the charge will increase to 90p for one hour and £1.80 for two hours.
Officers told the cabinet these car parks had been chosen as they were the busiest in the borough.
For up to four hours parking, drivers will now have to pay £3 rather than £2.20.
Councillor Richard Galloway, representing Emsworth, told the cabinet he was unhappy about fees in Emsworth being higher.
He said: ‘It does not meet the principle of fairness.’
Brendan Gibb-Gray, chairman of Emsworth Business Association, said footfall had fallen 14 per cent this year in Emsworth, which has traditionally been one of the most buoyant shopping centres.
He told the cabinet: ‘If these charges go ahead it’s going to kill the goose that’s laying the golden egg.’
Officers said not having the extra charge in Emsworth and Waterlooville would mean the council having to find an extra £40,000 to £50,000 in the budget.
Cllr Jackie Branson, a member of the cabinet, said she sympathised with campaigners, but said there was cheaper parking available in Emsworth.
Council officer Jackie Batchelor added: ‘It’s not unusual for people to pay for convenience and pay a premium for convenience.’
Deputy leader David Guest said: ’We need this income. Forty thousand pounds is too much to lose.’
He said most motorists were not disadvantaged and he regularly saw mums struggling with shopping bags on public transport.
He said: ‘They need this council’s support.
‘We don’t need to support people who are well off with beautiful cars and don’t want to pay an extra 50p.’
Three cabinet members voted for the changes, with Cllr Yvonne Weeks voting against it.
As well as South Street and Wellington Way, charges will go up at Mission Lane, Rockville Drive, Greywell, Tidworth, East Pallant, Town End House, Prince George Street, Elmleigh Road, Palmers Road, North Street, Elm Grove, Hayling Island Health Centre, Mengham Lane, Civic Centre East and Civic Centre North.