An e-petition that calls for new Sunday parking charges to be scrapped has now collected nearly 800 names.
Sunday pay and display charges were introduced at the two government-owned multi-stories at Chester Street and Drumgold Street – above Marks and Spencer – on January 5.
Rates are the same as those applied on weekdays and Saturdays - £1 for up to an hour, £1.50 for up to two hours and £2 for up to three.
The petition has been set up by Steve England of the organisation Manx Business Reviews and had collected 785 supporters by the time the Manx Independent went to press yesterday (Wednesday).
It calls for the government to withdraw the charges indefinitely, claiming the parking fees will drive customers and business away – and push people to opt for internet shopping instead.
Mr England’s petition states: ‘By imposing charges, the government is not supporting the local economy and economic development and growth in the retail sector.
‘The island’s residents are not getting pay increases, but the cost of living is rising and petrol is going up, road fund licence increasing. It’s time to stand up and say enough is enough!’
Strand Shopping Centre manager John Shakespeare has urged people to sign the petition, claiming that the Sunday parking charges are ‘another nail in the coffin for town centre shopping’ - and could persuade more people to shop out of town or on-line.
Infrastructure Minister David Cretney MHK said: ‘An announcement was made early last year that given the present financial climate we must look at all our costs and charges. In December I put on hold the charges which were then planned to be introduced so that everyone had warning from the signage that they would be coming in at the start of January 2014.
‘We have costs to cover for the operation of our car parks and I believe the charges are very reasonable compared to most other places.
‘At the same time I have not agreed to introduce on street car parking charges on Douglas promenade and elsewhere as suggested by my highway officials so on a Sunday in particular free parking remains available to shoppers adjacent to the shopping area.’
You can view the e-petition at http://fb.me/18KS5H251