A decision to offer free parking in Lewes District Council’s car parks from December 15 to 31 this year was welcomed.
Traders and councillors are hoping it will provide a boost to businesses in the festive period.
Parking charges in district council’s car parks in Seahaven have also been unified, with the result that many of the charges have gone down.
However charges will now be linked to the retail prices index, having been frozen for eight years.
Cllr Carla Butler (Newhaven, L.Dem) said: “I’m pleased that the district council are continuing the free parking during Christmas which the Liberal Democrats started and that the simplified system for parking is welcome. Although across the district there are some that will pay more, we are fortunate in Newhaven that it will be a reduction which will support local businesses.”
However across Lewes district, parking charges in district council car parks will increase by ten per cent overall, which has prompted a furious reaction from cllr James MacCleary, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition on the council.
President of Newhaven Chamber of Commerce Annie Lorys said: “’Once again Newhaven will get free parking during Christmas, which is always a help to our struggling town centre.
“It is most unfortunate, however, that during the current hard times being experienced by our members that parking charges are being increased across the district, although the news that Newhaven will only have one rate could be good news for us – but it will depend upon what that rate turns out to be.”
Vice president of Seaford Chamber of Commerce Joe Fackler said: “I think it’s a good idea to have free parking during the Christmas period, but the question will be does it have any affect? We won’t know that until the period is over. It could just create free parking for the long term parkers in town.”
Mr Fackler said he was in favour of unifying the car parking charges in Seahaven.
He suggested introducing reduced stopping times to encourage people to pop into town centre shops for shorter periods, therefore encouraging shoppers staying longer into the car parks.
The new charges will come into force from April 2013, with one tarriff for both towns: 70p for an hour and £2 for more than four hours.
The hourly charge will be 22 per cent lower than the current B and A charge.
It currently costs 90p an hour in Newhaven and Seaford Bands A, 75p an hour in Newhaven Band B and 55p in Seaford Band B car parks.
The highest charge listed for both towns is £2 for three hours.