Published: 15:00, 04 December 2018
| Updated: 22:31, 04 December 2018
It is feared proposals to hike parking charges across Herne Bay and Whitstable will affect trade and tourism.
The city council hopes to increase the hourly rate in many car parks by 10p - a change one business owner is concerned will have a negative impact, particularly during the summer months.
If plans are approved, car parks across Herne Bay - namely Neptune car park and those in William Street, Market Street, Reculver Country Park, Reculver Towers and Beach Street - could see hourly rates rise by 10p year-round, from £1 to £1.10.
In Whitstable, meanwhile, the authority is planning to introduce the 10p increase from April to September only, when car parks are mostly frequented by tourists.
The changes would apply to all short-stay car parks in Gladstone Road, Gorrell Tank, Keam’s Yard, Middle Wall, Shaftesbury Road and Victoria Street, as well as Whitstable Harbour car park.
The council says the proposed changes would generate an extra £24,000 in Whitstable and £31,000 from Herne Bay, which would go towards providing services.
But there are fears the changes could deter residents and visitors from shopping in the coastal towns.
Melvin Smedley, owner of Kids Korner toy and fancy dress shop in Mortimer Street, Herne Bay, said: “What the council wants is more and more money.
“They charge enough already - there comes a point where you take too much.
“If they want tourists, make it affordable for them, or they will go off to towns where they don’t have to pay so much.
“If they want further shop closures, they should keep going like this.
“It’s almost like ‘what else can we grab?’”
If given the go-ahead, the new tariffs would come into effect on April 1 next year.
A public consultation has now been opened, to give residents and business owners the opportunity to comment.
To find out more and to have your say, visit the city council website and fill out the questionnaire by January 4.