RESIDENTS in Hawkshead claim new parking meters are affecting tourism and trade in the honeypot village.

More than 50 local people and business owners turned out to a public meeting on Tuesday evening where they expressed their unhappiness at the Parking Eye system in place on the main car park, owned by Lake District National Park Authority.

Drivers face a £90 fine should they go over their allotted time, and many believe this is putting people off visiting Hawkshead.

Kim Merrick, who runs Poppi Red, in Main Street, said: “It is scandalous and greedy. So many people have said to me that they won’t come back here next year because of the parking problem.

“People are rushing back to their cars and not enjoying their time here. We are making people feel unwelcome.”

David Nixon, LDNPA operations manager, organised the meeting because he was eager to address residents’ concerns, but added: “This system has been put in place because we were having so many people not paying for their parking.”

Dougie Bell, of Walker Ground Manor B&B, said: “Why was there no public consultation? Pay on exit seems to be a good way of dealing with this. It is the biggest problem that people have in Hawkshead.”

Simon Butterworth, of Collins and Butterworth pharmacy, said: “It is having a detrimental affect. We are getting a vast number of complaints from people.

“My business gets people from as far away as Coniston and Newby Bridge and they have got nowhere to park.”

Mr Nixon added: “If you are getting these complaints, we need to know about them. We have had 22 people complaining - appealing their fines - and 62,000 people have used the car park. You must get these people to complain to us. If we work together we might be able to sort something out.”

Residents agreed to look into setting up a working group.