Following public outcry Brighton and Hove Council have agreed to reduce its £20-a-day parking charges in Madeira Drive on Brighton seafront. However, to ensure it does not lose out on revenue, council bosses brought forward the start of the traditional summer season from April 1 to March 1.
This means people will be paying £3 an hour rather than £1 an hour with effect one month earlier, many motorists are complaining that the new policy will leave them out of pocket.
Winter charges for the seafront to the west of the Madeira Lift are £1 for an hour, £2 for two hours and £7 for 11 hours.
Last year’s summer charges, which ran from April 1 to the end of September, were £3.50 for an hour, £6 for two hours and £20 for 11 hours.
Conservative councillor Graham Cox said: “In what seems like the longest winter for years it is absolute folly to be bringing in summer charges now, particularly with the Easter break just around the corner. "Once again, this is all about maximising revenue for the council rather than trying to encourage visitors and help local businesses.
“It adds to the impression once again that visitors to Brighton and Hove are being ripped off.”
A council spokeswoman said the change was to “offset the impact of the reduced tariff”.
She added: “At the end of last year the council worked constructively with the seafront traders on Madeira Drive and hoteliers in New Steine to reach a solution on parking charges.
“It resulted in the council reducing charges in the high tariff area by 22%.”
She added the charges had been advertised, covered by the media and agreed at a public meeting.