A BUSINESSMAN has hit out at the council for a parking charge hike at the Dolphin Centre.

The local authority increased charges at the Dolphin Centre multi-storey car park on January 30 without consulting stores or the centre, according to Tony Brown, owner of Beales. 

The £1.30 hour-long stay has been scrapped and the minimum stay is now two hours, which costs £2.30.

Tony said: "A member of staff that works 9.30am to 5.30pm now has to pay £11.50 compared to the previous £10.50. If we run late and they get to their car at 6.01pm, it will cost them £13.80. 

"We're going to have to look at how to minimize that effect, so it's going to cost shops more to make sure our staff are not disadvantaged by it." 

Tony said that not only were shops unaware of the changes, but the Dolphin Centre was also left in the dark about changes that could 'severely affect business'. 

He has blamed council leader Vikki Slade's 'anti-car' agenda and called for a complete reversal. 

He said: "Vikki Slade's anti-car doctrine is coming for all towns, whether it's Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole. 

"Reverse it. Take away the charges, consult with retailers and business people instead of arbitrarily plugging in an 80 per cent increase in charges. By increasing it literally overnight, you're discouraging people from staying in the town centre." 

However, the council has hit back with a spokesperson saying a public consultation ran from Thursday, May 11 until Thursday, June 8, 2023. 

And, that posters advertising the consultation were put up at the library and in the car park.

John Grinnell, Centre Manager at The Dolphin Poole said: "It is disappointing for the community that BCP Council has decided to raise parking fees significantly and removed the convenient one-hour tariff for the parking facilities at The Dolphin Poole.

"The results of the public consultation made it clear that raising parking fees would likely lead to residents choosing not to travel to the town centre as frequently and spending less time here when they do visit."