A car park’s grace period will be extended after angry business owners said it was turning away their customers.
Drivers parking at the Willowhayne Crescent car park in East Preston will now have 15 minutes to park there for free before charges are enforced by traffic wardens.
The decision to extend the period by four minutes was made by East Preston Parish Council’s amenities committee at East Preston Infant School in Lashmar Road on Monday evening.
It was attended by several business owners in Sea Road, including Cheryl Burnal from Isherwood Investments, who submitted a petition asking the council to do a full review of the parking scheme. She spoke out about the issue last year, click here to read more.
The parking scheme was introduced on October 16 to go towards its annual maintenance.
But since it was introduced, residents claimed illegal parking nearby had spiked and the car park was nearly always empty.
The charges are 50p an hour for a maximum of three hours and £1 for overnight parking. The council entered into a three-year contract with One Parking Solutions to run the car park.
Speaking at the meeting, Jenny Blackmore from Pebbles Catering in Sea Road said it was affecting trade, particularly with labourers.
Because they make their food to order, the grace period would not be enough – especially for less mobile elderly customers. She said: “I don’t think 15 minutes is long enough for them. It might just irritate them even more.”
Colin Bradshaw from The Clockhouse Bar in Sea Road criticised the ‘insidious’ way the parking tickets were issued, claiming at least five of his customers who parked overnight on New Year’s Eve got £100 fines for not picking their cars up early enough.
Committee chairman Rick McElroy responded by saying: “I’m a believer something had to be done because there were certain people in the village who parked three or four vehicles in there constantly, but I think it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
The council will also look into changing the parking scheme in the summer period when people want to go to the beach nearby.