HUNDREDS of people have signed petitions opposing plans to introduce on-street car parking charges in Ambleside.
Created by Lakes county councillor Heidi Halliday, an online petition has attracted more than 500 signatures in one week.
The Spar has also gathered hundreds on a petition at its Compston Road site and another has been created by outdoor swimming experts and Compston Road-based business, Head to the Hills.
Cumbria County Council is controversially expected to rubber-stamp plans to introduce the charges next month.
But the move has been blasted amid claims it will drive business away from the centre of the town.
The petition created by Coun Halliday says: “Shoppers faced with a charge to buy a loaf of bread and a pint of milk will instead use Sainsbury’s with its free parking facility.
“I cannot and will not support the introduction of charging when it is potentially going to cost people’s jobs and livelihoods.
“This decision also effects people in areas like Rydal, Grasmere and Langdale who need to come to Ambleside to access services.”
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Streets in Ambleside included in the proposal are Cheapside, Church Street, Compston Road, Compston Street, Kelsick Road, King Street, Knott Street, Market Place, Vicarage Road and Waterhead.
Spar director Christine Newton said the charges would have a ‘major effect on all town centre businesses’.
“There is very strong feeling against this,” she said. Her husband Cliff, who is also a director, added: “One hour is enough now to pop into shops, but this could kill off the town centre.”
Coun Keith Little, Cumbria County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Nearly every other local authority in the country charges motorists to park in high-demand locations.
“In a climate where the council is losing one pound in every four we used to have to spend, we need to cover our costs in enforcing parking restrictions. Revenue from on-street parking charges will be used to pay for effective enforcement.”
Lakes Parish Council was due to discuss the issue at a meeting last night.
Coun Halliday’s petition is available at: you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-on-street-parking-charges and Head to the Hills’ at councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/mgePetitionListDisplay.aspx .