Traders fear the future of a popular street market is under threat because customers can no longer find anywhere to park.

Stallholders at the Monday street market in Epping have traditionally relied on their customers being able to park at the district council-owned car park next to Cottis Lane in High Street.

But, since Transport for London ratcheted up the cost of parking at Epping Station, they claim their customers are being elbowed out by commuters taking all the spots at the High Street car park.

Adrian Harrison, 56, from Chingford, is a former St John’s School pupil who’s had a market stall for 35 years.

He said: “It’s become a nightmare.

“Regular customers are put off by not being able to park.

“Look at the fish mongers and the bread stall, they are the staple of the market and they’re empty.

“It’s having a serious effect on the high street as you can see with the empty shops.”

Commuters reacted with shock when the price hikes were brought in at the start of the year.

At Epping the daily tariff rose from £5.50 to £6 – well above the average London Underground tariff of £5.07.

In Loughton and Buckhurst Hill the fees rose from £4.50 to £5 a day, and at Hainault the price rose from £3.50 to £5.

Dean Burnham, 25, from Romford, runs the McCarthy’s bread stall.

He said: “It’s a real problem.

“This used to be a good market, but I’d say we have lost at least half of our trade.

“The car park is £2.80 for the whole day, which is half the price of the train station car park.

“Of course people will use it, it’s saving them £3 pound odd a day.”

Mr Harrison added: “We are already having a tough time of it with the economy and now we have this on top of that.”