From last week [Monday, November 4] motorists have been prevented from parking in Beech Street Car Park off Camden Road without a permit during the day.
Instead visitors and shoppers are being asked to use the opposite Camden Road Car Park.
The Council says that there has been no loss of pay and display parking spaces in the area as they are simply moving all permit holders to Beech Street.
But traders along the street say the move is another ‘kick in the teeth’ to independent businesses as it means one car park is full all day while the other is half empty.
Jack Ward, owner of Velocipede bicycle shop, opposite Beech Street Car Park, says it is already affecting trade.
“It is ridiculous to have one car park absolutely full so people cannot use it while the other car park is empty all day because permit holders are at work,” he said.
He continued: “It is difficult enough as it is at the moment, what with the roadworks and everything else that is going on, and this is just another kick in the teeth. People use that car park to drop bikes off at my shop, now they have nowhere to park.
“It is not as if people can stop outside because the traffic wardens refuse to use any common sense. My customers will end up going somewhere else where they can park.”
He said to combat the changes, he is thinking of starting a petition, ‘among other things’.
Former Mayor and councillor for St James’, David Neve, has also criticised the move by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
He told the Times: “What annoys me is that they have done this without any committee or any councillors being involved. Traders were also not informed. The signs went up even before the order was issued.
“The Council says there will be no loss of parking spaces but there will be a loss of choice.”
A spokesperson for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “We’ve been listening to the feedback about these proposed changes and we will be opening Beech Street to short-stay users on the weekends.”