Businesses fear Harrogate parking charges rise
Businesses fear a rise in parking charges at Harrogate council-run sites will put shoppers off coming into the town centre.
New prices have come into effect, bringing in a 10p increase per hour in all but three off-road sites.
Harrogate toy shop owner Granville Simpson said it was "another nail in the coffin" in driving shoppers away.
Richard Cooper, from the council, said parking fees had been frozen for seven years and there were 2,000 free spaces.
The rise includes all the authority's car parks apart from the Jubilee and Victoria multi-storeys and a site on Station Parade where charges have been frozen.
Sunday morning charges have been brought in at the Jubilee in Harrogate, Castle and Fisher Street in Knaresborough and at St Marygate, The Arcade and Victoria Grove in Ripon.
A 50p short stay charge has also been introduced for the first time at Ripon Market Place.
Mr Simpson, owner of the Rocking Horse toy shop, said: "We're really up against out of town shopping centres where there's free parking.
"I think this rise will make quite a bit of difference. We keep getting increases and this particular one is quite severe.
"It's a 16% hike in charges which is four times the current inflation rate so it is quite serious and I think it will affect all of us in business."
Mr Cooper, cabinet member for planning, transport and economic development, said: "I think everyone would acknowledge you have to put prices up because you've got overheads to pay in the same way that all those businesses that are members of the chamber of trade put their prices up.
"Frankly if you went into York and paid for one hour it would cost you 28% more compared to Harrogate, and Leeds would cost you 35% more."