Proposals to introduce a winter car park charge in Hayling Island have been met with resistance from arcadians who fear it could hit their trade.
Amusements operators in Hayling Island have expressed concern that introducing off-peak car parking fees could damage their businesses.
Havant Borough Council said it is considering introducing off-peak fees across the eight popular Beachlands car parks on the resort’s seafront.
Although the car parks are currently free to use between 1 November and the end of February, the council’s head of neighbourhood support has recommended the charges be brought in to offset the sites’ annual maintenance costs.
But arcadians with sites close to the car parks said any such action would be “pointless” and “detrimental”.
Phillip Brombley, who has managed the Beachlands Café & Amusements for the past two years, warned that the introduction of the charges could do a lot of damage to the resort.
He told The News:“We lose money in the winter already, so putting people off coming here with parking costs could have a detrimental effect on our business.
“Not only that, but I know lots of people come to Hayling during the winter to deliberately avoid peak summer costs – they will be hit too.
“Sometimes I wonder if the council is trying to frighten holidaymakers off the island.”
Marshall Hill,co-owner and director of the adjacent Funland amusement park, also dismissed the proposal.
He commented: “This would be pointless. I suspect it would cost the council more to collect the money from the machines than it would make with the charges anyway.
“We currently give our visitors free parking throughout the winter and we will continue to.”
While no final decision has been made yet, a spokesperson for Havant Borough Council said: “We need to assess the demand for parking at Beachlands during the winter months and will be carrying out survey work to gather this information.
“Once that is done we will use that data to inform any recommendation made on off-peak charges in the area.”
The council has already come under fire this year for inadvertently revealing that it had set its parking wardens targets running into the thousands of pounds for issuing parking tickets.
In a section of its publically available 2017/18 budget findings pack, it stated:“There were also legal issues with the option of replacing officers (who were set targets of £25,000 income to cover their costs) with cameras.”
Although the council denied setting any targets for its enforcement officers, its report also suggested increasing borough parking enforcement hours.