BUSINESS figures ‘vehemently oppose’ a proposal to double the price of a ticket in one of Dorchester’s most popular car parks.

In a letter obtained by the Echo, Dorchester BID chairman John Fiori asks West Dorset District Council leader David Clarke to reconsider the plan to hike prices at Fairfield car park.

In April, the price of an 8am to 6pm ticket will double from £2 to £4.

It is estimated that the council will make an extra £200,000 from the increase.

The plan has been described as ‘outrageous’ since it was backed by councillors in December.

In the letter to Mr Evans, Mr Fiori says ‘many members’ of the BID had contacted its office with their concerns.

He goes on to add: ‘We trust that you will very carefully consider the implications of this price increase before any decisions are made.

‘This change will cause a significant negative impact upon staff and business owners alike, who utilise the long stay facility.

‘These car park users could experience a 100 per cent increase in their parking charges over the course of the year.

‘We enjoy a close working relationship and we are keen to pass on the feedback that we are given to ensure that you have a balanced view of the opinions of our levy payers.’ The price hike was proposed in the annual parking report agreed by the executive committee.

Echo readers, such as 28-year-old Lauren Browne whose car was vandalised when she left it in the car park to go to work, have said they oppose the measure.

Town councillor David Taylor said he is concerned workers will be forced to park in residential areas causing more disagreements and possible vandalism.

Mr Fiori said he is yet to receive a response from the council but was compelled to write the letter because levy payers are ‘very unhappy.’ Leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould said: “The district council is committed to supporting businesses and keeping our town centres prosperous.

“Our short stay parking prices have remained frozen for the last eight years and I believe we offer some of the cheapest parking on the south coast.

“The council consulted the Dorchester BID and other key stakeholders on the proposed parking charges for 2014/15 and future direction of parking policy before agreeing any changes.

“It is our understanding that the BID supported all of the proposals made to the December executive committee, including the increase for Middle and Little Fairfield car park, which comes into effect in April this year.

“The increase will bring these car parks into line with the current charge for long stay parking at Top o’ Town Car Park in Dorchester and long stay car parks in the district.”