CAR boot parking charges for the Sunday sales at Dorchester may yet be reduced.

Changes to Dorset Council car parking fees from April 1 has resulted in parking for the Sunday boot sale at Fairfield going from free to a minimum charge of £4 – costing more to park on a Sunday than when the Wednesday commercial market is held.

Concerns have been raised that the new Sunday charge will put people off attending the car boot which, each year, raise thousands of pounds for local charities.

But joint markets panel chair Cllr Molly Rennie has revealed that talks are going on to get the Sunday fees reduced.

The problem is being caused not only by the introduction of a Sunday parking fee but that the car boot sales are held on the only area at the market site where parking is cheaper, the closest point to the town centre, forcing visitors into the long stay area, or finding nearby street parking or using other car parks.

Cllr Rennie told Dorchester town councillors on Monday evening that talks are being held with Dorset Council officials involving her, the panel vice chair and the town clerk to try to find a solution.

She said the current parking charge was confusing visitors who were unsure of whether they needed to pay, and if so, how much, with some being misled by the lower fees for market day.

Parking for those attending the popular Sunday car boot sales has been free for the past decade.

Locals had been hoped that the council would allow free parking to continue for buyers because of the charity aspect of the sales but Dorset Council said it wanted to see the same charging system apply across the county – and that it needed the money to help pay for essential services.

Fees for the Wednesday commercial stall market, on the same site, are £1 for up to two hours, £2 for up to three hours, or £4 for four.

Town councillors have argued that the new Sunday fees will deter many people from attending – resulting in a cut in charity pay outs at the end of the year and possibly the demise of car boot sales.