Shoppers have said proposals to scrap one hour free parking across a council’s car parks would create “ghost towns” and put people off shopping.
Plans to introduce a simplified two-tier charging system are expected to be sent to Erewash Borough Council’s budget setting meeting in March.
If agreed, the new charges would see drivers at council-owned car parks pay £1 for up to three hours and £3 for any period over three hours.
The change would not affect rates at the commuter car park at Long Eaton Railway Station.
But people are worried that the affect would put people off “nipping into town” for essentials.
Sally Jones, 59, of Long Eaton, said: “I think it will affect small businesses for sure. People like the freedom of being able to nip into town for an hour and grab what they need.
“People may not bother as much if it gets approved.”
“I like the thought behind wanting people to stay longer, but there’s no need to really for some people,” said Dawn Norton, 41, of Ilkeston.
“It just seems a bit another way to make money. I’d prefer if it as say two hours for free then charge a bit more for longer stays.
“If they’re not careful, the towns will end up as ghost towns. It’s important to celebrate local business and you’ve got to be able to access that as easily as possible.”
Martin Beechdale, 50, of Long Eaton, added: “It removes the concept of nipping in to town for a breakfast bite to eat or picking up some essentials.
“Although £1 is not a lot people will resent paying it – it will have an effect.”
Councillor Michael Powell, Erewash Borough Council’s lead member for regeneration and planning, said: “This move, if agreed, will encourage people to stay longer in Ilkeston and Long Eaton town centres.
“We believe a simplified two-price system will work well and that the new rates are fair and compare favourably to charges in other local authority areas.”
Additional income generated from the changes would help the council meet the long term costs of maintaining and upgrading the car parks, the authority added.
The meeting of Council Executive is at Long Eaton Town Hall on Tuesday, February 18 at 10.30am.
The budget-setting Full Council meeting is at Ilkeston Town Hall on Thursday, March 5 at 7pm.