SCRAPPING short-stay parking fares will see fewer people visit town centres leading to mass business closures, a campaigner has said. 

Hamworthy resident Paul Alibone has set up an online petition calling for BCP Council to reconsider cutting short-stay parking charges. 

By the end of the year, all 20-, 30- and 40-minute options for council-owned car parks will be axed as part of a pricing “harmonisation”. 

Paul has been leafleting businesses in Poole and Christchurch town centres, with plans to visit Bournemouth in the future, to drum up support for his 1,300-signature-strong petition. 

The IT project manager said: “I wanted to target the shops because they’re the ones who are directly impacted by this as well as the disabled people who are all being forced to pay more to go into town. 

Bournemouth Echo: Cotlands Road car park in BournemouthCotlands Road car park in Bournemouth

“I was speaking to one chap who goes to the gym regularly and the changes made to parking would mean he has to pay £1 extra.  

“So if he goes once a day that could be an extra £28 a month or so, or around an extra £330 a year. 

“Eventually, people will just stop going if they have to keep paying more for a short stay.” 

Read more: Residents argue against Beach Road car park sale

BCP Council has argued that scrapping short-stay parking would “increase footfall by encouraging those that would have parked for a shorter duration to park for longer to utilise a larger number of local businesses, supporting local economic development”. 

But Paul believes it will deter people from visiting and warns that soon, more businesses will close. 

Bournemouth Echo: Paul has set up a petition to get the council to reconsiderPaul has set up a petition to get the council to reconsider (Image: Daily Echo)

He said: “I go into the town centre fairly regularly to buy a coffee during my lunch break and Poole is quite well supported, but in Christchurch, businesses are leaving in their droves. 

“It’s hard enough for these poor retailers to survive as it is, without it being made worse by taking away short-stay parking charges. 

“I want to say to the council: what about the lost income from businesses who have to close because people aren’t coming to the towns anymore?” 

Last year, a council report concluded that scrapping short-stay parking charges could earn it an extra £500,000 from people buying lengthier parking tickets. 

In the summer, BCP Council hiked its car park prices by around 15 per cent, with a two-hour stay in many Bournemouth town centre car parks rising from £2.50 to £2.90. 

The petition can be found at

Cllr Mike Cox, cabinet member for finance, said removing short-stay parking will "support sustainable transport aims" by reducing short car journeys.

He said: “Statistical records show that more than 50 per cent of the transactions at the locations that currently offer 20-minute and 40-minute tariffs are for tariffs more than one hour - indicating that at least half of users are already parking for the longer durations.

“The measure we hope will also increase footfall by encouraging those that would have parked for a shorter duration to stay for longer - utilising a larger number of local businesses and supporting local economic development.

“The implemented changes to car parking arrangements across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are from Tuesday 9 January 2024. These changes provide greater clarity and consistency to car park users and streamline peak and off-peak parking times across the BCP area.

“Blue badge holders with tax-exempt vehicle permits are not affected. Once the new scheme has had time to bed in there will be a review of the effects.”