A five-fold increase in the cost of a parking permit for Whitley Bay businesses has been criticised.
North Tyneside Council is increasing the price of an annual business parking permit from £50 to £250.
Stephen Mack, who owns The Aloe Centre on Duchess Street, said: “If the council genuinely wants to make Whitley Bay an attractive town centre again then they’re going about it in the wrong way.
“Or is it the aim of the council to drive away all the businesses out of Whitley Bay and turn into a ghost town?
“It’s small businesses that will help them achieve that but this is a direct attack on them.
“There are quite a number of small privately-owned businesses just starting to take off but how are they going to afford a parking permit? I have two at the moment so it would cost me £500.
“I can’t believe this council really want to destroy small businesses like ours . Many of us depend on our vehicles to get to our business premises and some like ourselves use them for deliveries.”
A £25 charge is also being introduced for a resident parking permit, which was previously free.
A spokesman for North Tyneside Council said: “We know residents and businesses value the parking permit schemes and we have written to everyone affected to give them the chance to tell us if they want them to continue.
“For these schemes to keep running we need to revise the charges as the running costs outweigh the income generated and the number of applications for new schemes keeps rising. This is in line with neighbouring local authorities and we know from them that some people will not want to pay the new charges.
“Once we have everyone’s view we’ll make a decision on each scheme and charges will apply only to new applications and only at the point of renewal for all existing permit holders.”
The council also points out that there are more than 1,700 free parking spaces in council-managed car parks across the borough and 425 of these are in Whitley Bay.
There are also some privately-managed public car parks operating in Whitley Bay - one of which is next to the Metro Station (operated by Nexus) and is free of charge.
They daily cost of a business permit will be 68p and the weekly cost £4.80. Parking permits are valid for two years
There are currently over 200 new requests for residential parking permit schemes
Find out more about the changes at http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/161/parking-permits