Parking fees dubbed a ‘tax on keeping our kids active’

Ben Ellis and Nate Robinson at a Chichester Ronin Judo Club championship.
Ben Ellis and Nate Robinson at a Chichester Ronin Judo Club championship.

Evening car parking fee plans have lead to fears small clubs and community groups at New Park Centre could lose out on attendance.

Chichester Ronin Judo Club, which runs classes on Monday and Friday evenings, was one of the parties to submit a formal objection during the consultation.

Parking from 6-8pm at the council car park in New Park Road will cost £2.60 a time if a one-year trial is approved on Tuesday, but the classes themselves only cost £3.50-£4 for under 16s.

Reader Gary Robinson commented on Facebook: “Our children go to judo twice a week, so it’s going to get expensive over the year - a tax on keeping our kids active.”

In its consultation statement, the club expressed fears the charges could lead to a drop in attendance.

It read: “When much of the car park was sold off for housing, and even more of the compound was used for a construction compound, our numbers dropped drastically.

“Even a small drop in numbers can affect the energy of a class and this spirals into ongoing

falling numbers.

“We lost money throughout this period and had to draw on club funds.”

Club chairman Trevor Mossop said that on contacting the council with his concerns, he was advised that visitors to the centre would be able to park in the Cattle Market car park, which will remain free after 6pm.

But Mr Mossop is unconvinced the alternative free parking will help.

He said: “We have a lot of young families. We have all ages, there’s an 80-year-old who takes to the mat, but a lot of them have young kids under the age of five.

“Not being able to park nearby is going to be a significant issue for them.”

What do you think? Send us your thoughts to letters@chiobserver.co.uk

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