AN ENRAGED High Street trader from Stroud is calling for the hike in parking charges to be repealed.

Stroud District Council announced last week that charges will be raised at car parks across Stroud, Stonehouse and Painswick from October 23, with a consultation planned on other towns such as Nailsworth.

Simon Powell, who opened Brilliant Disguise 11 years ago, had branded the decision ‘arrogant and stupid,’ decrying the lack of consultation with traders.

He also runs The Toy Shop and The Shoebox with business partners Jane Mahoney- Wightman and Sally Bradley.

Mr Powell now fears for the future of his and other businesses.

“The decision is arrogant and stupid,” he said.

“Many of us, including myself, have opened businesses in Stroud because we love it, we want the town to be successful and vibrant.

“Most businesses in town are borderline successful and are just trying to keep their heads above water, so an increase such as this could kill off some businesses.

“SDC has shown zero interest in trying to create a successful commercial identity in the town, and this is in many ways a stealth tax.

“There has been no consultation sought from traders, which could have been raised at the Concordat meeting on September 7.”

SDC leader Steve Lydon (Lab, The Stanleys), said that the changes were supported by national research.

“We understand the concerns expressed by some of the town’s traders as increasing parking charges is not going to be popular,” he said.

“However, we would like to reassure them that we have looked into this matter in detail and that national experience and research shows that the modest increases in parking charges do not have a negative impact on shops and businesses.”

Mr Powell and fellow business owners have called for four changes.

They want the rises to be cancelled, a proper consultation with stakeholders, a commitment to introduce a parking payment programme that takes into account the town centre, and for a commitment to introduce parking charges at Ebley Mill in line with the scheduled increases in Stroud.