By Leigh Boobyer – Local Democracy Reporter

Businesses across Gloucester and Cheltenham have reacted with dismay after being told a new parking permit scheme will require them to log in every four hours.

One business figurehead has claimed if they miss the time slot, not only will they risk being fined but they will not be able to register their vehicle for the rest of the day.

Gloucestershire County Council sent a letter last week to businesses in the two areas stating that paper parking permits will go digital on November 1 but traders would have to revalidate their car every four hours.

The move has been met with outrage from business figures, branding the move “shortsighted”.

In the letter, seen to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it said the digital record “will help us identify mis-use and so relieve pressure on some congested areas”.

Business owners currently pay for a year and then display their permit in their vehicle, but the new system means they have to re-register the vehicle every four hours.

According to the council, businesses who have paid for a parking permit will not need to pay for another one.

Kevan Blackadder, who runs the Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), which represents companies in the town, said businesses weren’t consulted on the move before.

Mr Blackadder said: “We do not understand why it has come so quickly.

“The last thing that businesses need is changes that cause trouble. But to send a letter without any prior warning to businesses who are trying to maximise their profits seems to be shortsighted.”

Samantha Cooke, who owns Cookes Cafe in Gloucester, said the move will “damage businesses”.

She said: “Most of us are opening up at eight in the morning and close at six in the evening. It is ridiculous.

“It will damage small businesses, and deter anyone wanting to start a business in the city from doing so.

“If we keep getting ticketed it will be to our detriment because we cannot afford to walk to do it.

“I think if it carries on, businesses could even consider to close down.

“We know we can re-validate our tickets online, but I don’t have the time to pause what I’m doing to go on my phone, let alone walk to my car three times a day.

“My busiest time is at 12pm and I am rammed from then until 2pm, my staff and I aren’t able to sacrifice the time to log in our tickets over and over.”

A spokesperson for Gloucestershire County Council said: “We’re working to make parking easier and more efficient using technology and to ensure the permit scheme works for all.

“We know some businesses have raised concerns and we will carefully consider the views we have received. Those that have recently paid for a paper permit will not need to pay again.”

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