Proposals to increase car parking charges by 10% in Burnham-On-Sea would be detrimental to town centre businesses, it’s been claimed this week.

Sedgemoor Distict Council is considering a hike in car parking charges across Burnham and Highbridge, as reported here earlier this month.

A Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade spokesman said this week: “Whilst understanding Sedgemoor’s budget issues and the ongoing capping of Council Tax increases, across the board increases in parking charges are detrimental when there is little attempt by Sedgemoor to attract extra shoppers into the town.”

“The Chamber recognises that out-of-town supermarkets and shopping centres offer free parking and there are no parking charges for shoppers who sit at home on their computer or tablet to shop online.”

“Parking charges are an unwelcome barrier to business in a town that has reducing public transport, an elderly population and a seasonal influx of visitors.”

“If there must be charges for use of Sedgemoor’s car park, let the charges be reasonable and effective and let there be greater dialogue about how the needs of Sedgemoor and business can be met.”

Sedgemoor District Council says it needs to raise an extra £90,000 of revenue per year from parking charges across the district after cuts to its funding from central government.

Introducing new parking charges at Apex Park in Highbridge is one of the options being considered – and a one-off charge of £2 for the 100 spaces could generate £30,000 per year.

Other suggestions include an across-the-board hike in all car park charges of ten per cent, which it says would yield £87,000 of extra income.

Standardising the daily parking charges across the district at £5 per day is a further option, which would generate an extra £50,000 per year.

The council is also considering raising the cost of blue badge and motorcycle parking.