MORE than 80 traders, residents and community leaders voiced their anger against plans to introduce parking charges in Nailsworth at a special meeting.

Traders fear the proposed charges of 50p for the first hour, 80p for two hours, £1 for three hours and £1.50 thereafter would deter shoppers from using the town's six car parks - which are currently free - and draw them to nearby supermarkets instead.

Mayor Steve Robinson said the plans were the latest in a long line of bad news for the town following the withdrawal of funding for the youth centre and library, closure of the police station and cuts in bus services.

"I am proud of Nailsworth as a vibrant town and do not want to see that ruined by plans which have not been thought through," he said.

"It clearly is not the right economic climate to implement this kind of financial burden on those still struggling from the recession."

He plans to invite SDC's chief executive, head of parking and cabinet member for responsible parking to visit the town to speak to traders.

The review of parking charges is the first in six years into SDC's 34 car parks and comes after increases in Stroud, Stonehouse and Painswick earlier this year.

A consultation is underway and the public can fill in questionnaires.

But town councillors in Nailsworth are annoyed because the questionnaires do not allow for arguments against charges to be voiced.

They have also asked SDC to explain how much money it expects to generate from charging and why parking in Nailsworth will cost 20p more than in Dursley and Wotton-under-Edge.

Cllr Robinson would like to see some of SDC's £1 million underspend used to cover the £16,000 needed to maintain car parks in Nailsworth.

SDC argues that charging is needed to cover these costs.

Speaking at the meeting at the town hall on Tuesday, August 16, several town centre residents argued that introducing charges would lead to visitors using spaces outside their homes to avoid paying.

One resident Jon Burfitt, who lives in Church Street, said: "I cannot park outside my house because it is unrestricted and the problem will only get worse if the charges are introduced because we will have to park miles away instead of using the car park.

"There will also be extra pressure put on the free car parks outside Morrisons and the town hall."

Commenting on the criticisms, SDC spokesman Dave Marshall said: "We are grateful for all the comments and points raised. "It is positive that so many people are expressing their views and engaging in the consultation process. "All comments received and the results of the questionnaire will be considered once the consultation is complete."

Online questionnaires can be completed at and hard copies are available on request. The consultation ends on September 9.