A regional daily has hailed a victory in its campaign to reduce parking charges after hundreds of residents, politicians and traders signed petitions.
The Argus in Brighton launched its Park the Charges campaign just days after the Green Party-led Brighton and Hove City Council revamped its parking tariff structure in April last year.
As part of a raft of changes, charges in the city centre rose to £3.50 an hour, up from just £1 an hour in some areas previously.
But spearheaded by local government reporter Tim Ridgway and business editor John Keenan, the paper’s campaign gathered support from hundreds of people and the council has now agreed to reduce some charges and freeze others.
Welcoming the U-turn, Argus editor Michael Beard said: “As a newspaper which has been in the heart of the community for more than 130 years we are here to represent the views of the people of Sussex.
“Our mailbag has been full of letters from businesses, residents and visitors all complaining about one thing. Parking.
“This is a prime example of why local newspapers are important – to stand up to and hold decision-makers in check.”
Meanwhile, visitors to the city’s famous seafront were hit by a 100 per cent price hike, up to £20 from £10 – with the added burden that the machines only accepted £1 coins.
Dozens of businesses, including the city’s tourism alliance and the Hoteliers’ Association, backed the paper’s campaign, claiming the new charges put people out of business and drove visitors away.
They claimed many residents from the city and the surrounding areas had started shopping in other towns.
Leading politicians also got involved, and hundreds of people signed petitions for various areas which have been presented to the council.
Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby also welcomed the news, adding: “Credit must go to the Argus for its Park the Charges campaign and to all those local businesspeople and residents who campaigned long and hard against these charges.
“Today is a victory for everyone who wants to see Brighton and Hove thrive.”