More than 1,000 oppose increase in parking charges in Deal
A PETITION containing over 1,000 signatures from disgruntled shoppers and businesses angry over an increase in parking charges in Deal could spark a district council review.
Campaigner and former Labour councillor Brian Hender-son has received support from members of the public in his bid to get charges reduced in the town.
A similar petition has been submitted by businesses in Sandwich.
Both have been handed to Dover District Council's scrutiny committee which is now considering calling for a review into car parking in Deal and Sandwich and is looking to carry out its own investigation into how other retail areas attract shoppers.
District councillor Mike Eddy, who submitted the Deal petition on behalf of Mr Henderson, said something needs to be done soon.
He said: "The public are fed up with having to fork out for increased charges and not seeing the money invested back into local car parking facilities and roads.
"DDC is keeping the cash it makes to line its coffers – it sees parking charges as another income source to make up for keeping council tax lower than it wanted it to be.
"Businesses are also fed up – they have enough challenges to face in the current economic climate while having to compete with places that charge very little or nothing at all for parking."
A charge of 50p for 33 minutes parking in Deal was changed to cover 30 minutes in April meaning motorists pay a see a 10 per cent decrease in value for money.
A full day's parking in the town has also been altered meaning some areas now see drivers get six hours parking where before April they would have got up to eight hours for the same money.
Cllr Eddy added: "Scrutiny members at DDC are now considering calling for a review into car parking across the district as a result of the petitions.
"Members have also called for an investigation looking into how other retail areas work, such as Westwood cross where parking is free, Whitstable where you pay something like £2.50 for the day and Canterbury where you pay a couple of quid for the park and ride service."
Scrutiny committee chairman Keith Mills said he has asked for additional information relating to charges from previous years to be submitted before launching a review into car parking in the town.
But he added: "I do have some concerns about the charges, namely whether they are fair across the district and if they serve a good purpose.
"Once the additional information we have requested is submitted I expect things to move very quickly on this issue."