SIR — What Cllr Beckett doesn’t address in his response to my letter (Chronicle letters, December 31) is my suggestion that Winchester City Council will hurt shop traders by raising car park charges.

Increasing the cost by 20 per cent and more may encourage people to use park and ride instead of long-stay parking, but is likely to put off those who only want to shop for a couple of hours.

My gifts and accessories shop saw excellent Christmas trading, thanks to the city’s seasonal attractions.

However, like many city centre retailers, I fear for the future because of the threat of out-of-town supermarkets, online shopping, astronomic rises in rates bills and a predicted rise in VAT to 20 per cent.

The council and Cllr Beckett in particular deserve praise for supporting attractions within the city and for trying to help local small businesses through grants, training and marketing, but I fear discouraging short-stay visitors will undermine their good work.

Julia Lewis, Your Life Your Style, The Brooks Centre, Winchester.