THE cost of parking in Southend’s seafront car parks could go up on hot summer days, it has been revealed.

Under the controversial proposals, parking tariffs at individual car parks across the borough could change, depending on the weather.

Inevitably on sunny days people want to park near the beach, but they’d be faced with a more expensive charge than town centre alternatives.

The council believes the scheme will help reduce traffic and air pollution. However, seafront traders are not impressed with the plans - at all.

Paul Thompson, owner of seafront cafe Pebble One, said: “It’s an extremely bad idea.

“The council has tried to bring these new fantastic schemes in, but they have all failed. It’s been a disaster. It’s left thousands of cars driving around that can’t find spaces.

“They took 70 spaces away from Marine Parade. If they put them back, they would have much more revenue.

“Anything that is putting prices up will ruin businesses on the seafront and the High Street.”

Martin Richardson, owner of Happidrome Arcade, added: “It’s rubbish.

“They think that if it’s quiet, people will be more likely to park where it’s cheaper. It won’t happen.”

A council spokesman said much work was still to be done on finalising the plans and stressed that there would be a public consultation before any decisions were made final.

The spokesman added: “Though we are at very early stages of developing these proposals, what we envisage is a way of using real-time parking information to set rates for parking within individual car parks on any given day.

“The aim would be to make better use of the council’s overall parking capacity by incentivising parking in lesser-used car parks on any given day.

“This is very much a work in progress.”