CONTROVERSIAL plans to get rid of many of the remaining free on-street parking spaces in Havant town centre are set to be approved.
Havant Borough Council is poised to paint double yellow lines and impose parking restrictions along parts of West Street, Staunton Road, Western Road and Brockhampton Road.
It follows a public consultation in which the council received 15 written objections and five letters of support.
Officials say the main reason is safety as it is difficult for vehicles, including ambulances and fire engines, to negotiate the narrow roads as cars park on both sides.
But traders said it could be bad for business.
Business leaders said it could deter people from coming into the town centre – despite free short-stay parking being offered at Tesco and the retail parks.
Terry Jordan, who runs Ink World and is a member of Havant Business Group, said: ‘The retailers are very concerned about it.
‘We feel it could drive people away from Havant.
‘The workers are going to have to find more money to pay for parking and it’s not cheap to park in Havant all day.
‘Wages are not going up, but they are asked to pay out more.’
Linda Bushell, who works at Cancer Research UK in West Street, said: ‘It will cause problems.
‘They should cut the parking prices to encourage people to park there.’
But residents in Brockhampton said double yellows along Brockhampton Road and at junctions were vital.
Stewart Johnson, chairman of Brockhampton Residents’ Association, said: ‘If they had not done something, there was going to be accident.’
However, he said residents were still concerned more restrictions could mean even more competition for the remaining spaces.
Cllr David Collins, who oversees parking in Havant, said this was the first phase of an overhaul.
This phase is principally about safety. The second phase will look at parking provision for residents, visitors and workers.
He said: ‘We can’t please all the people, all the time.
‘There’s never going to be a universal elixir, but hopefully it’s a good compromise.
‘If it causes further problems we could consult again and alter it in the future.’
A decision will be made at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.