ANGRY Weymouth residents have hit out at 'outrageous' car parking prices which they say are discouraging them from visiting town.

Dorset Council controversially raised prices across the county in March, with motorists in Weymouth now needing to fork out £15 for the day in local authority-run car parks. 

The rise has been met with concern from business owners and figures in the town, while a fiery town council meeting saw councillors agree to write to Dorset Council requesting an 'urgent review' into the charges.

Over the weekend, the warm weather attracted people to Weymouth to enjoy the beach but there were a healthy amount of available spaces in council-owned car parks.

The Dorset Echo asked its readers on social media whether the price hikes had put them off visiting town - and hundreds of people responded.

Some residents said they 'go to Dorchester instead' where prices are cheaper, while several people said they avoid going to town 'unless I have to'.

"It explains why this summer those car parks have been half empty when previous years they would be almost full on sunny weekends," Alana Andrews said.

Another reader, Hannah Ford, added: "Prices are shocking - I haven't bothered going to the beach this year."

Keith Holloway said prices 'must be reduced to encourage tourism' while Sheila Payne described the charges as a 'daylight robbery'.

Mike Wilce said: "That's money which might have spent in the town's shops and eateries.

"Parking charges at those levels certainly puts both visitors and residents off visiting Weymouth."

Lucy Edwards said her family 'don't visit Weymouth town centre in the day time anymore' to avoid the rates, while Kirsty Stanger said town centre car parks 'should be full with this weather'.

Other people noted that they park outside of town and catch the bus into town to keep prices down. 

Some readers pointed out that local residents can apply for Dorset Council parking permits to save money. 

A short stay car park permit costs £78 for 12 months and allows drivers to park for up to two hours in most council car parks. 

The local authority also offers a flexi stay permit which gives unlimited parking in the majority of its car parks for £25 a month or £260 for the year. 

However critics of these say that some people will not be able to afford lump sums during a cost-of-living crisis. 

A petition started by Weymouth café owner Nigel Sims-Duff has garnered more than 5,000 signatures and is hoped to be discussed at a Dorset Council meeting in July once it has been submitted. 

Dorset Council maintains that the charges have 'the least impact on Dorset residents, workers and businesses'. 

It added the car parks chosen for hikes were in 'busy tourist areas' and that it has had to deal with 'rising costs' of maintaining the sites.