Supermarket giant Waitrose says its Horsham branch has received ‘at least’ 100 complaints from customers angry about evening parking charges.
A flat rate of £1 was introduced at selected town centre car parks between 6pm and 8pm by Horsham District Council in March.
At the time this newspaper reported on motorists’ fury at the hike in Denne Road, Piries Place and the council offices car parks.
One month on and Waitrose in Piries Place has revealed that the store has suffered a drop in the number of evening customers.
“I’ve had a least 100 complaints since March,” branch manager Jo Thomas told the County Times.
She is concerned that the store’s ‘click and collect’ customers have been affected by the price increase.
“We get a lot of people coming in and picking up little bits and they just don’t want to come into town and pay to park for that.
“Between the hours of 6.30pm and 8pm it becomes noticeably quiet.”
Other shops and eateries have echoed similar concerns.
Nero Gilissen, general manager at Wabi, in East Street, said: “It’s had a knock on affect for trade for us, especially on Friday. People have made comments as well and often ask for us to break notes to give them change. It’s had a negative impact on staff too. A lot of staff do not want to start until later on in the evening because they don’t want to pay for parking.”
One trader claimed the council has a responsibility to help bring business to the area.
Vince Cassar, the owner of Town and Country Weigh in the same street, said: “It is just too expensive to park in Horsham. It is killing trade, people are not coming in anymore. As soon as they put prices up it affects all businesses in the area. They need to put one day a week at a reduced car parking price. At least it would give some incentive for people to come in.”