BALLYMONEY councillors say plans to increase the cost of parking in some car parks will be a blow to the town.
Ulster Unionist James Simpson - a newsagent at Main Street - slammed the charges saying businesses are fighting for survival.
“These rises are going to deter people from coming into the town to shop,” he said
He said the town centre in Ballymoney is suffering because of Tesco and he said rather than increase car parking and impose on-street parking charges in the town the government should raise money by charging bigger rates for Tesco to pay for their carpark.
DUP councillor Ian Stevenson is also against the charges and said that although the rises are modest he said what is actually needed is for parking charges to be scrapped in all car parks in Ballymoney.
“We are a small town being squeezed between Coleraine and Ballymoney and we need all the help we can get to compete. Car parking charges should be axed in Ballymoney - not put up.”
He added: “The only good news is there is no charge proposed for Townhead Street Car park.”
Ballymoney Council was told the Department of Regional Development has approved the following car park charges in Ballymoney:
* Castle Street - increase in charge from 30p for up to three hours to 60p for up to 6 hours and 90p all day to a charge of 20p per hour or part thereof.
* Church Street - charges to increase from 30p per hour to 40p per hour.
The Department said the 30p per hour tariff has been the general charge in provincial towns in Northern Ireland for more than ten years.