An authority has vowed to try and counter the effects of a rise in charges at a station car park.

Traders in Epping say that since a day’s parking at the town’s station was hiked from £5.50 to £6 per day in early January, commuters have been blocking spaces usually used by shoppers.

Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce chairman John Price said: “We want our streets to be vibrant places, not ghost towns filled with the cars of people who simply park there all day so they can travel by train to work.”

Gary Waller, Epping Forest District Council’s highways portfolio holder, said: “We’re aware it’s had a significant effect and it’s an absolute priority for us to produce an action plan to respond to the situation.”

But he admitted that with no power over charges at the station car park, which is run by National Car Parks (NCP), and a commitment to freezing prices for shoppers at the council’s Bakers Lane and Cottis Lane car parks, which currently stand at £2.80, his task would be hard.

He added: “One could have various permit schemes, but we don’t want to develop a bureaucracy if we can avoid it.

“We’ve not been putting up our charges, certainly as far as shoppers are concerned, because we want to have people shopping in the town, rather than elsewhere.”

Options for fixing the problem could include introducing a higher all-day tariff in town centre car parks and limiting stays there to a few hours.

Cllr Waller said he would report back to the council’s next cabinet meeting on March 11.