PAY and display charges in Southport could rocket by 30% as Sefton Council seeks to plug a huge funding gap in its finances.
The local authority is also considering options for a 30% increase at all council-run car parks across the borough, imposing charges at Crosby and Waterloo seafront car parks and removing free half-hour parking in Crosby Village.
Officers say the new charges – which would come into force on April 1 next year if approved – would net the cash-strapped council an additional £332,000 a year.
Butcher Graham Eyes, who has two shops in Churchtown and another on Wesley Street, in Southport town centre, said: “I cannot believe that Sefton Council would even consider such a drastic tactic, which really would shoot Southport in the foot.
“We are trying to encourage business and trade, not drive people away.
“This will simply destroy trade – parking charges are too dear as it is. They should take a leaf out of Liverpool’s book and reduce charges. I do not understand the principle of doing this.”
In a joint report, Sefton’s head of transformation services, Jan McMahon, and head of finance and ICT, Margaret Rawding, admitted: “Significant increases in charges proposed could lead to resistance by the public who may park elsewhere or choose not to make the journey.”
Members of Sefton’s cabinet will meet at Bootle Town Hall at 10am this Thursday to discuss these and other proposals.