By Liam Dawes
Visitors to Brighton seafront will have to pay a staggering £20 per day for parking after new charges were introduced by Brighton & Hove City Council.
The tariff rocketed from £4 on Sunday as part of a comprehensive hiking of prices that were first revealed in November.
Notes and cards are not accepted at the majority of machines, leaving motorists with no alternative but to carry large numbers of coins when wishing to park.
Traders fear the huge hike will result in day trippers deciding to take their trade elsewhere.
Glen Harman, who owns Waves restaurant, said: “We expected a rise but £20 is just too much.
“Peoples’ incomes are not increasing so it is just driving people away.
“Those that do stay are not spending money in the shops so it’s taking money away from the town.
“It’s all about greed.”
Mr Harman was also critical of the council’s decision to remove the six and nine hour parking bands, forcing visitors that stay for over four hours to pay for 11 hours parking at any one time.
He added: “It’s like something a schoolchild would have come up with.
“People come here and want to stay for about six hours and not 11 so why have they got rid of that band?
“There were people that came down here to walk the dog yesterday and it cost them £6.”
With the charges in place for the first time on Sunday, dozens of motorists were spotted turning around when confronted with the new charges.
Others simply risked leaving their cars without paying for a ticket.
The tariff changes have alarmed Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby, who has raised the issue in the House of Commons.
Mr Kirby said: “I am deeply concerned that these enormous increases will not only hurt residents and local businesses, but also discourage many people from coming to Brighton; a city which thrives on tourism.
“I asked the Leader of the House of Commons if he would allow for a debate in Parliament on excessive parking charges and the impact they have.
“This is an important discussion for the future of our City and I will continue to raise the matter locally and in Westminster.”
The council has defended the rises, stating that the measures are designed to encourage motorists to think about alternative methods of travelling to and from the city centre.
A council spokeswoman said: “Car parking tariffs are highest where there is most demand for spaces and are set to encourage people to think about alternatives.
“The seafront is easily accessible on foot and by bicycle and is served by several regular buses.
“During the summer months visitors often waste valuable time queuing in their cars or driving around the city looking for spaces – this is bad for them and bad for business.
“We want them to get out of their cars and enjoy what the city has to offer.
“We accept that coin only machines can be inconvenient and are looking at introducing cashless parking machines in some areas of the city.”