The £37m theatre has concerns the scheme means people coming to see a show cannot park nearby when the city is at its busiest.
They also slammed the ‘unwelcoming’ Market Street car park and said charging to park there in its current state would damage their reputation.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s places committee will consider the future of ‘Free After Three’ on June 19.
As part of a CWaC consultation businesses and stakeholders were asked for their input.
A Storyhouse statement said: “We are open minded about the introduction of fees after 3pm.
“In fact it might help reduce the congestion into Market Street at peak times and may dissipate parking elsewhere to help relieve the pressure.
“At Christmas and during the summer, the 3pm watershed produces considerable congestion and inability to park within range of the theatre.”
Storyhouse said the market car park ‘does not provide an encouraging or safe atmosphere’ in the evening.
They suggested a ‘small’ charge be used to staff the car park and improve it - even offering to explore the possibility of Storyhouse helping to staff the car park themselves.
The theatre statement said: “We know that it is to be replaced but, before it is, we believe there to be a significant reputational issue to handle.
“We are willing to help where we can.
“We would welcome a discount for theatre goers, combined with a strategy for encouraging our customers to use the car park along with one for making it safe and welcoming.”
The free parking also applies to Brook Street and Delamere Street.
CH1ChesterBID businesses remain in favour of keeping the scheme.
BID manager Carl Critchlow said: “The majority of our members believe removing this incentive would have a negative impact on their business and their sales and, as far as we know, that strength of feeling hasn’t dampened.
“We would continue to encourage the council to take seriously the concerns about its withdrawal and to understand the expectations of our members is this scheme will be retained in the final parking strategy.”
Stallholders at the market recently told the Chronicle footfall had ‘dropped to its lowest’ after the opening of the city’s new bus interchange at Gorse Stacks meant the removal of the bus exchange in Princess Street.
Some traders fear scrapping free parking could hit their business further.
CWaC’s review of Free after Three is part of an overall look at parking policies across the borough.
The Labour-led council have previously said the review is driven by a desire to even out imbalances in charges across Cheshire West, improve the quality of parking facilities and tackle congestion.
Drop-in events and consultations were held at the start of 2017 to allow all those concerned to make their case in support of or against certain changes.
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