Leominster parking charges 'will kill town trade'
New parking charges in place in a Herefordshire town will "kill" trade according to its mayor.
Traders in Leominster said takings are down by as much as 20% after charges were introduced in November.
Town mayor Peter McCaull said: "People are really struggling, the car parks are empty which means empty streets."
Herefordshire Council said the matter will be discussed in January as a result of a petition signed by more than 3,000 people.
Etnam Street car park, which used to be free for up to three hours now costs 60p for one hour or £1.60 for three.
Charges in other car parks in the town have also increased.
Independent councillor Mr McCaull said: "The shops have held on and survived through the recession but they will not be able to survive this unless it is changed."
January 'bit late'
Graham Powell, Conservative councillor for Golden Valley South, said other market towns in the county have had similar changes to car park charges and "aren't complaining".
He said: "We've saved £21m in the last couple of years and future budget pressures mean there will be more savings to be made.
"I recently went to Leominster and did not see the situation the councillor described, let's look at the marketing of the town and see how we can better promote it."
Mr Powell added as a result of the petition the matter will be discussed by the Conservative led authority next month.
Stuart Fletcher, a butcher in the town, said he had noticed a drop.
He said: "We're down 15% and it should be a lot more than that at this time of year.
"January is a bit late to be looking at it really, it's shutting the gate when the horse has bolted."