Business owners in Joss Bay have met with South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay to discuss the hike in parking charges set to hit the isle from next month.
The higher fees have been agreed by Thanet District Council. It will be one income to be used to help balance the books in the next financial year.
Hikes in charges range from 20p and hour to £4 at car parks across the isle.
At Joss Bay charges rise from £1.70 to £4 an hour and daily charges rise from £8.50 to £12 starting from the 1 April. This is in addition to proposals to introduce parking bays and charges to Elmwood Avenue.
Sarah Melmoth, owner of Joss Bay Leisure, said: “The new charges are higher than the well-known hotspots of Cornwall. In Perranporth charges are £1 per hour and £6.60 for a whole day. It is well documented how busy Joss Bay and the surrounding beaches are during school summer holidays but it is also important to attract local people during term time, and the decision to raise parking charges will present a clear obstacle to business owners.”
Sally Gridley, owner of the Joss Bay Café, said she was also concerned about plans to remove free parking at Elmwood Avenue.
She said: “My business relies upon local and passing trade. The potential for changes at Elmwood Avenue will exclude locals from their own beach. Our beaches are one of our greatest assets and should be for everyone to enjoy at a reasonable cost. Yet by raising parking charges and not improving facilities, business owners will feel they are being punished.”
Mr Mackinlay said he will back business owners in their fight against the charges. He added: “ Joss Bay and other local businesses should not be priced out. These new charges will prevent local people from enjoying their facilities and this will impact on our tourist industry. It highlights the short sighted approach by TDC.”
A petition against the charges has been launched by isle residents and can be found here
The list of parking charge increases can be found here