People across Chichester are being urged to gear up and get green by signing up to the city’s first ever community car club.
The club is being set up by Chichester District Council, but the eventual aim is to transfer the running of it to a group of residents.
The council plans to buy two cars, one for the community and one for businesses, funded by part of a £25,000 grant from the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Members would then pay a one-off £25 fee, then book the car online for the date required. After collecting it from one of several dedicated parking spaces around the city, the driver would then pay an hourly charge and mileage rate.
Senior health environmental health officer Simon Ballard said: “It is a much cheaper option for those who drive less than 6,000 miles a year, saving around £3,500 per year. It also saves all the hassle of owning your car.
“From a young mum wanting to take her child out, to a retired person wanting to attend an appointment, to a business person attending a meeting, everyone can benefit.
“Our aim is to encourage local people to run the scheme. We want local people to make the decisions on the options available and how it should be run. We believe it can be self-funding within two years.”
Tangmere resident Rosemary Moon has already expressed an interest in the scheme and said she welcomed it wholeheartedly.
“I would just like to so endorse this sort of thing in Chichester and if it could spawn other groups in outlying villages it would be fantastic.
“I just think that certainly with our air quality in the city and people driving out of habit, this is taking such an enormous step forward.
“If we were to have a car share scheme people wouldn’t have all the running costs associated with a car during normal useage. It just seems to be so much more environmentally responsible.”
Mrs Moon said she believed with petrol prices rising, and people being forced to reassess their car use, the scheme would make a real difference to people’s lives and to the environment.
“Sharing this amenity could be another really positive way forward of meeting neighbours and getting more involved in the community and getting to know more people. I really see it as a very positive, cohesive way of addressing transport and it has got to be better for the health of the environment and much better for our own health.”
Mr Ballard said the scheme would also promote social inclusivity and would be good for those who could use public transport, walk or cycle to work and who just needed the car for occasional work meetings.
It could also help households reduce the number of cars as well as help people who could not afford their own car access services.
The scheme is one of a number of initiatives the council has been running to change the culture of travel and encourage people out of their cars, including cycle training and cycle repair workshops.