DRIVERS could soon face winter charges at eight popular seafront car parks.
Havant Borough Council (HBC) has revealed it is considering introducing off-peak fees across its Beachlands car parks on Hayling Island.
Currently free to use between November 1 and February 28/29, HBC’s head of neighbourhood support recommended the charges are brought in to offset the sites’ annual maintenance costs.
The proposal appeared on page 64 of the borough authority’s budget findings pack for 2017/18.
But business owners operating close to the car parks say introducing off-peak fees would be ‘pointless’ and ‘detrimental’.
Phillip Brombley, 47, has managed the Beachlands Cafe on Sea Front Estate for the past two years.
He said: ‘I believe introducing these charges could do the island a lot of damage.
‘We lose money in the winter already, so putting people off coming here with parking costs could have a detrimental effect on our business.
‘Not only that, but I know lots of people come to Hayling during the winter to deliberately avoid peak summer costs – they will be hit too.
‘Sometimes I wonder if the council is trying to frighten holidaymakers off the island.’
Co-owner and director of the nearby Funland amusement park, Marshall Hill, also slammed the proposals.
He said: ‘This would be pointless. I suspect it would cost the council more to collect the money from the machines than it would make with the charges anyway.
‘We currently give our visitors free parking throughout the winter and we will continue to.’
While no final decision has been made yet, a HBC spokesperson said: ‘We need to assess the demand for parking at Beachlands during the winter months and will be carrying out survey work to gather this information.
‘Once that is done we will use that data to inform any recommendation made on off-peak charges in the area.’