Residents across Tilehurst have hit out after increased parking charges in the village is thought to cause turmoil for local businesses.

This comes as Reading Borough Council announced that cars wishing to park at Dunstall Close and the Recreation car park would be required to pay £1 to park for less than 30 minutes.

Prior to this, shoppers were able to find convenient and free parking options as they visited local businesses and amenities within the Tilehurst Triangle.

Following discussions with constituents, Cllr Raj Singh has launched a petition to reinstate the 30 minutes of free parking within the Tilehurst carparks.

Cllr Singh said: “The new parking charges are having a detrimental effect on the local community. It’s affecting footfall for the village and therefore impacting almost every local business.

“People do not want to pay a pound to go and buy a pint of milk from the local store where they would normally have gone to.

“Residents in Reading have already been struggling and now they are being asked to pay more out of their limited money. Businesses affected include everything from the cobblers to the local pharmacy on Tilehurst High Street.”

According to Cllr Singh, an elderly resident who has spent her life in Tilehurst said that because she is being charged when picking up her ‘free prescription’, it is no longer free.

Currently, the petition has garnered over 2000 signitures both online petition and in hard copy.

Most businesses and residents across the village are in support of this campaign according to locals.

Many supporters have said that the 30 minutes of free parking is vital for the survival of local small businesses.

One resident commented: “Reading Council needs to think of the bigger picture here, don't kill off a thriving neighbourhood centre in the same way you've done to the town centre.”

Another added: “I found the ability to park for 30 minutes without charge a very useful asset to shopping in Tilehurst. The shops I visit are only to pick up a prescription, go to the post office or other 'quick items' which probably only take 10-15 minutes.

“If I now have to add £1 to every visit, I am more likely to go somewhere where I am doing a bigger shop/staying longer to make it worthwhile.....and that won't be Tilehurst.”

A spokesperson from Reading Borough Council said: “While we appreciate increases in car parking charges are never welcome, the decision was made in the context of the Council freezing its parking fees since the period of the Covid pandemic. The cost of providing car park facilities and maintenance of those car parks has also risen significantly, as a result of increasing inflation.

 “In some instances, income from Council car parks does not cover the costs involved in running them, such as lighting, providing pay and display machines, maintaining surfaces, re-lining etc. Set against the backdrop of every Council experiencing budget pressures because of the increased costs of providing services, we could not maintain and improve car park facilities without further investment.”