Business could boom in Chichester if a move to implement a ‘pay as you leave’ scheme at city centre car parks goes ahead, the local chamber of commerce has said.
The idea has been agreed in principle by Chichester District Council’s cabinet, and design and implementation is expected to start very soon.
The new system will be in place at the Avenue de Chartres multi-storey car park by autumn next year, and those backing it hope the council will consider introducing similar arrangements at both the Cattle Market and Northgate car parks.
Iain Shepherd, of the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “When people go shopping in Chichester and meet someone, they get delayed and have to get back to their cars before their ticket runs out. Then they disappear out of the city, rather than spending their cash here.
“We are very keen the council expands the pay-as-you leave idea to other car parks. We would certainly encourage to expand the system to the city centre, one of the reasons being because of elderly people and those with mobility issues.
“The Avenue de Chartres is too far away from the city centre for them if they need to get back to their car.”
Mr Shepherd has been campaigning to get the ‘pay-as-you-leave’ system at Chichester car parks for about eight years.
He added: “This idea is not new. These things move remarkably slowly, and obviously there is a cost implication with it. It will help business; it is not necessarily about increasing footfall, it is about retaining footfall for longer.”
A spokesman for Chichester District Council said: “Pay-as-you-leave would provide visitors to the city the opportunity to stay longer with no risk of an overstay penalty charge.
“The cabinet has agreed in principle to support a scheme at the Avenue de Chartres multi-storey car park in Chichester. A detailed plan, with costs, will go back to the cabinet for final approval in the new year. If agreed, we hope work will commence during 2012/13.”