Canterbury’s Conservatives have sent a strong message to local businesses: ‘your survival is less important than filling our own coffers’.

As high streets across the country stare into the financial abyss, Canterbury council under direction from the Conservative administration has taken the extraordinary decision to raise car parking charges to such an exorbitant rate, it will now be cheaper to park a car in central London than to pop into town to support local businesses.

From April 1 (unfortunately this isn’t an April Fool) it will cost £2.80 an hour to park in the centre of Canterbury. In contrast, parking in Victoria, Westminster and Millbank would set you back just £2.55.

Lib Dem vice chair Alex Lister said: “it appears as though the Conservatives just don’t understand business.

“In business you have to be competitive. If it costs more to park in Canterbury than the petrol would cost to drive to Bluewater and park for free, customers are going to go where there’s more choice and less traffic.”

“94% of local businesses say they expect the new parking charges to harm their trade.

“Conservatives are supposed to be the party of business. I can’t see many local business owners voting Conservative after they’ve watched their livelihoods and incomes drained of life blood.”

What do you think about local services? Fill in the survey here and enter our prize draw to win £100.

Posted by Alex Lister

Alex grew up in Canterbury. He is lead governor of the East Kent Hospitals Trust, vice chair of the local Liberal Democrat Party and vice chair of CHEK - the campaign group for a new hospital in Canterbury

See all posts by Alex