The Conservative Group is calling on the Green Administration of Brighton & Hove City Council to reverse their massive parking charge hikes after it was revealed that they are likely to be costing the city’s local traders millions in lost revenue. The Argus reported last month that visitor numbers to Brighton & Hove had reduced by almost 11% year on year during the first half of 2012, with monthly reductions of up to 19% after the new charges were introduced in April.
Now, figures obtained by the Conservatives under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that rival seaside resorts Bournemouth and Eastbourne have fared considerably better than Brighton & Hove. Eastbourne has seen just a 3% reduction in visitor numbers during 2012 whilst in Bournemouth, visitors have actually increased by 13%.
The Conservatives have calculated that Brighton & Hove’s relatively poor performance compared to Eastbourne and Bournemouth could cost the city’s economy up to £74 million in 2012/13 if this trend continued throughout the rest of the year.
As a result of these findings, the Conservatives are submitting a motion to the Full Council meeting on 25th October calling on the Greens to reverse their parking charge increases before more damage is done to local business.
Group Transport Spokesman – Cllr. Graham Cox – said: “These figures confirm that the huge increase in parking charges was a mistake. Local traders warned about it at the time, and they are suffering badly because of the refusal of the Green Party to listen. The excessive charges amounted to a large tax increase on tourists and small businesses. They are not even raising the money which was unwisely predicted and for this reason alone the charges should be decreased back to 2011 levels.”
Group Leader – Geoffrey Theobald – added: “The Greens have tried to blame the drop in visitor numbers solely on the bad summer weather but these figures prove that their parking charges are having a huge negative impact over and above that. I call on them swallow their pride and restore these parking charges to a sensible level before even more people decide that the likes of Bournemouth and Eastbourne offer much better value than Brighton & Hove.”