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16 December 2011, 06:00
A petition against parking charges in Ely, signed by 12,000 people, is being handed in to East Cambridgeshire District Council.
The number of signatories is equivalent to two thirds of Ely's population of 18,000 people.
It has been signed by traders, residents and shoppers since opening back in June.
Heart has been told that a 'senior councillor' will receive the petition when it is handed in at 10am today (Friday 16 December).
East Cambridgeshire District Council is proposing to bring in car parking charges in Ely.
At the moment it is free for drivers to park in the city.
Some traders fear that making people pay to park will drive shoppers to bigger nearby cities with more shops like Cambridge and Peterborough.
Recently Ely featured as a case study for 'poor consultation with local people' in a review of the country's High Streets by shopping guru Mary Portas.
Andrew Olley, from The Ely Traders Association, said: "It is time that East Cambridgeshire District Council stopped these shameless acts and finally listened to the opinions of local people, businesses and now the advice of the Government.
Ely is a wonderful town centre.
To impose expensive charges on parking in the city centre is unbelievably shortsighted.
To do so against the advice of local people and government would be criminal."
East Cambridgeshire District Council is holding a public consultation into the proposals, which runs until the end of January 2012.
The charging proposals include:
A spokesperson from East Cambridgeshire District Council said: "We want to encourage shorter stay parking in the car parks.
This will free up more car park spaces for shoppers to use and therefore increase footfall in the city centre.
We also want to be able to improve our car parks and the income from parking fees will enable us to do this as well as investing in other services."