CHANGES are to be made to Dorchester’s new parking scheme following an outcry from businesses.

The U-turn comes after scores of traders reported problems with customers being ticketed or boycotting the town because they don’t want to pay for parking.

Tim Westwood, Dorset County Council transportation manager, said time restrictions are likely to be increased in The Grove, South Walks, Linden Avenue and Weymouth Avenue.

Motorists and traders have said that the maximum of an hour’s parking offered at these sites doesn’t give people enough time to do their shopping, once they have walked from their car.

The meter at South Walks, which was placed on the other side of the road opposite the parking bays, will be uprooted and moved to the same side.

Mr Westwood said: “If the town councillors, district councillors and police agree with this, we will then invite comments from members of the public and traders.

“It is always hard when you try to do any regulation of traffic after people have been pretty good at using it to their own advantage.”

He said that the South Walks meter was wrongly placed because at the time the council was ‘unaware of the requirements of the historical agreement’ concerning the Roman wall.

As frustrations grow with the scheme, restaurant owner Christian Lohez is forming a group of traders who plan to fight the charges. He has threatened to quit Dorchester because of the charges outside his North Square-based restaurant No 6.

He said: “I’ve had so many phone calls about this and I think I can get everyone on board in a fortnight. It’s time to fight back.”

Mr Westwood said he acted as an adviser for councillors about the scheme and didn’t vote for it himself.

He has met with Dorchester Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Noble, after he called for him to ‘hand in his desk’ last month. Mr Noble asked for details on the scheme under the Freedom of Information Act and was provided with answers by Mr Westwood.