The district council behind car park refurbishment plans have asked business owners, shoppers and residents to “bear with us” following complaints from traders that they are suffering because of a lack of parking spaces for customers.

The 680-space car park in King George V Road is currently being extended by another 502 spaces after a capacity survey carried out by Chiltern District Council (CDC) in June last year showed the car park was at full capacity three days a week, with growing demand mainly from commuters travelling into London.

Since work got underway around five weeks ago, traders have complained that permit holders – mainly from CDC and commuters travelling into London – are taking up too many of the remaining available spaces in the town, driving away potential customers.

Cathy Christian, who runs a market stall in the town, said: “Straight away [after work started], customers started to complain that it was taking at least 25 minutes to find a parking space. Many customers were giving up, and just going elsewhere. Trade has really dropped in Amersham because of this.

“Speaking to the council, they said they were aware of this and since then a small sticker has been put on the parking machine to say that you could park in the permit spaces. They also said that they were going to burn off the large permit holder signs on the ground.

“Even if they do this, those permit holders can still park early, spend the whole day there, still taking up all those parking spaces, as a majority of shoppers don’t arrive till 9.30am.

“Before they started the refurbishment, they should have found somewhere else for those permit holders to park before the work began.

“No real thought went into caring about the shops in Amersham.”

Cllr Michael Smith, CDC’s cabinet member for environment, said when the work is completed it will be a “vast improvement” on the existing car park and will provide a “significant benefit” to the town and its businesses.

He said: “Our aim is to provide more parking for commuters at the multi-storey, so they don’t use the town centre car parks and free up spaces for shoppers.

"We appreciate there will be some disruption during the construction period and we are working extremely hard to mitigate this. Where possible we have sourced some additional short- term parking options for permit holders to keep as many spaces in town centre car parks available for shoppers and businesses.

"We will keep everyone updated on progress of the construction of the new car park and we are working very hard to complete the project as soon as possible. 

“In the meantime, I ask people to bear with us while we invest for the future and for the overall long term benefit of our community."