SEAFRONT businesses are urging residents to oppose plans for Maine Drive winter parking charges over fears it will “destroy” them.
Scarborough Council is considering a shake up of parking charges for next year, which if approved will see ticketing being introduced in Marine Drive between November and February.
Under the plans motorists, who currently park for free over winter, will have to pay £1 for an hour, £2 for up to six hours, or £3 for 24 hours.
The move has met with outrage by businesses in the area, who say they are already facing tough conditions due to planned road closures.
Water works will see Marine Drive partially closed from spring next year, with a full closure due the following winter.
Ron Ford, owner of Oasis Cafe in Royal Albert Drive, said: “Winter parking will just ruin it for us.
“Scarborough Council are trying to encourage an all year round season, then they suggest something like this which goes against that.
“Us businesses on the seafront have a tough time as it is with the road often closed due to bad weather, and all the closures planned for water works. What are they trying to do to us bringing in charges now?
“I will be appealing against it, and will be encouraging all of Scarborough to do the same. Scarborough people need to stick together and stand against it.”
Staff at neighbouring Watermark Cafe are equally appalled. Owner Gill Partridge said; “Bringing in winter parking charges would be disastrous for us.
“Down here is one of the only places you can park for free almost directly outside a cafe, which is really helpful for our elderly customers.
“We are really busy this time of year, and the whole reason behind that is because it is free parking and we see all our locals returning. If parking charges were brought in we would lose them, and winter would be terrible.”
The charges have been recommended in a report, due to be considered by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday.
Also featured are plans to lower charges at some town centre short stay car parks by 50p an hour.
The suggestions have been welcomed by Scarborough’s Chamber of Trade, which says it will a boost for retailers.
Victoria Clark, spokeswoman for the Chamber, said: “That is fantastic news. It will encourage people to stay in the town centre longer, and ultimately shop longer. It will be a big step towards keeping people in the town and promoting local shopping.”
If approved the new parking charges will come in to affect from March 1, 2012.