A leading Dundee businessman has warned shoppers may avoid the city centre if plans to hike parking charges are approved.
Dundee City Council will meet on Thursday to set its budget for the next financial year.
The SNP administration is proposing a raft of cuts in order to save nearly £10 million from its budget.
Officers have also put forward a range of increases for a number of council services, including car parking.
They want to increase the price of 20 minutes on-street parking in the city centre from £1.20 to £1.30. The cost of an hour’s on-street parking will rise by 20p to £3.10.
Bosses hope to raise an additional £56,000 a year this way.
Officers also want to raise the cost of parking in some off-street car parks, although prices in the Bell Street and Olympia multi-storeys would be frozen, potentially generating another £135,000 of additional annual income.
A report to go before the policy and resources committee next week says: “Given the need to maximise occupancy and revenue from existing car-parks, the Review of Charges proposes that lower occupancy car-parks have charges frozen or reduced to help stimulate usage.”
Jonathon Clark, owner of Clarks Bakery, said business owners feared any increase in charges will deter people from coming to the city centr.
“When the retail high street is on its knees they will just make their lives harder by doing that,” he said.
“They should be taking a leaf out of Perth’s book and giving people the first 15 minutes free.”
Mr Clark has also criticised the council this week, for its support for plans to make food outlets display the calorie content of meals.
He said outlets like Clarks had already introduced healthier options and consumers were aware of whether food they choose is good for them.
Mr Clark said: “We have a salad bar at the front of our shops and have tried to promote healthier eating in our shops but I don’t think mandatory labelling makes much sense.”
Councillors in Dundee will vote on whether to increase parking charges on Thursday.
Angus Council introduced charges for off street parking in November but the move has been met with widespread anger.
Many shops claim they have lost business because shoppers are staying away.
Although the scheme was supposed to net the council around £700,000 a year, some councillors have said the local authority could end up losing money instead.