Businesses in town can’t believe the “daylight robbery” that will be facing their customers come April.  

Users of the High Street car park will be paying on average 18 per cent more than they pay now. Shoppers will be forking out more change for every hour, with one hour charges rising from £1.10 to £1.30, two hours from £2.20 to £2.60, and three hours from £3.60 to £4.30. 

The 18 per cent increase is well above the UK’s inflation rate which currently stands at 5.2 per cent.  

Helen Dylan, owner of Davids of Haslemere, said: “These increases are daylight robbery. It will make people not want to go shopping. The council should be supporting the high street. People are already suffering, having to make their money stretch.”

Lindsey Kleinlercher, joint owner of Between the Lines, said: “I appreciate the council’s costs are going up but the prices are just ridiculous. I think it is madness and no-one is aware of it. 

“They are just going to whack it up. In the end people will just stop coming to the town and then who will use their car parks?”

Cllr Tony Fairclough, WBC portfolio holder for enforcement and regulatory services, said: “We know that many people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and the last thing we want to do is increase the burden on our residents. Waverley’s pre-pandemic income from car parks was budgeted at £5.1m. Covid-19 had a sudden and significant impact, reducing income by almost £2m in 2020-21.

“In 2021, the council approved a strategy allowing specific car park rates to be changed to respond to the market. Parking charges have remained unchanged since 2021, and to assist the recovery of income the council is proposing to raise them broadly in line with inflation.” 

Cllr Fairclough explained how car park income will now sit at around £5.2m, with the funds being used for a wide range of services.

Cllr Zoe Barker-Lomax from the Conservatives said: "I question the size of the increase at a time of challenge on the High Street.  This is not consistent with Waverley encouraging trade on the High Street and easing the cost of living for our residents.   "The Conservative Group will need to consider whether to support the increase, to support a lower figure or not doing it at all.  Waverley got £1million more than they expected from the Government in its settlement.  I think we could argues for a lesser increase.”