Angry residents staged a demonstration today (Thursday, April 11) in protest over the hike in car parking charges.
Louise Faulkner and Janet Green, who organised the protest, said the fees had increased by ‘more than 100 per cent’ at both Summerfields and Falaise Fitness Centres.
They said the increases came into force on April 1 and that people were cancelling their memberships at both centres, as they were unable to stump up the extra cash to pay for the rise.
Janet said: “Before the increased charges came in, it cost 30p to park for an hour, 50p for two hours and 60p for three hours.
“Now it costs 50p for an hour’s parking, £1 for two hours and £1.50 to park for three hours, which is an increase of more than 100 per cent.
“To put up the charges by this amount is ridiculous and will have a detrimental affect on people’s mental wellbeing and fitness.”
Janet, a personal trainer at Summerfields, added: “There are already people cancelling their memberships at the centre because they can’t afford to pay the extra parking charges.
“The other day I had to find a space to park on the road near the centre because I can’t afford to pay the charges myself. You expect things to go up but not to that extreme. It’s so wrong and just not acceptable.
“Hastings Borough Council is killing this town and someone needs to justify these increases in parking charges. It’s not encouraging people to come and improve their fitness at the centre.
“It now costs me £12 a week on top of my membership, meaning I have to pay an extra £600 a year because of the parking increases.”
Louise said: “To go up by such a large amount is ludicrous. I go to the gym three times a week, take my children to swimming lessons and trampolining so for me it’s going to cost me more than £10 a month just to park. I’m now looking at moving my children elsewhere.
“I was at the gym on Saturday (April 6) and collected more than 100 signatures within 15 minutes on a petition in protest at the charges.”
A council spokesman said: “Due to cuts in our funding, we are having to look at raising additional money from car parking, which includes longer charging periods at some car parks.”
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