Derby City Council defends city centre parking plans
Council officers have defended plans to change the parking pricing structure in Derby city centre.
Derby City Council is proposing to remove the minimum one-hour stay at car parks near Assembly Rooms, Chapel Street and Bold Lane.
Drivers wanting to stay for an hour would have to pay for two. The authority said the proposals would be easier for shoppers to stay longer.
But some Cathedral Quarter businesses claim it will push customers away.
City council off-street car parking costs the shopper £1.80 for up to an hour and £3 for two in Derby city centre.
From September, the minimum price would be the latter, even if the driver wants to park for less than an hour.
Dave Hill, who owns BPM records on Sadler Gate, said it would not only have a negative impact on his business, but felt the city council was trying to introduce a stealth tax.
"We're competing with free car parking in supermarkets and competing with people who give free postage on the internet," he said.
"We need every help we possibly can from the council, but I think it's probably another stealth tax."
Conservative councillor Chris Poulter, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Derby City Council, said: "We have an inflation rise to cover, a budget to balance and it's to do that.
"We're not increasing the charges in the car parks, but we are simplifying the way we charge people.
"Most people stay longer than an hour in our off-street car parks, so it should encourage people to stay longer in the city centre."
Derby City Council said it had considered how to best adjust car parking charges without the impact being too great on customers.
It added that on-street parking was "very convenient" for people making short trips.
Carl Hill, who runs Plum Soles on Sadler Gate, said: "Our customer, in a kind of jokey sense, isn't going to quibble over a couple of pounds when they're buying a pair of £300 boots.
"For them the Cathedral Quarter is a destination for them to come, I don't think it's in their thought process in the first place to quibble over a few pounds."