LETTER: Exploiting our resources

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It was with great disappointment that I read of the decision by Chichester District Council to support the imposition of an evening parking charge on the two most culturally important car parks in our city (Observer, November 3).

Council leader Tony Dignum’s assertion that the new charges would not act as a deterrent as they ‘only’ represented a three per cent additional tariff on a £45 Festival Theatre ticket throws an interesting light on the perceptions of some of our councillors.

Not all of us can afford to splash the cash for a £45 ticket, Tony.

Some of us have to get by with the £10 or £15 cheap seats.

For us the proposed new charges represent a more significant nine per cent increase, rather than the three per cent experienced by our apparently flush council leader.

The differential is even greater when looking at the New Park.

It costs £3 for a non-member to attend a lecture from the Chichester Local History Society at the New Park Centre. The proposed new costs thus represent an increase of 46.6 per cent – a far cry from the soothing assertion of a mere three

per cent.

Chichester has a vibrant cultural life, and is all the better for that.

I would have thought that it behoves the council to maintain and nurture it, not to seek to strangle it by a desire to use the car parks as a source of profit.

There is no evidence in what is being said about this that our political leaders are looking just to make the car parks wash their own faces in terms of costs – they are looking for these things to be income generators producing profits which the council can use in pursuit of their other projects rather than having to violate the instructions of their political masters in central government concerning council tax.

This seems to be yet another example of the political leadership of Chichester being out of step with what the ordinary citizen of our city wants – one can think of a number of other examples of late, such as their views on the A27 northern bypass, their desire to exploit Chichester’s parks to generate income, their willingness to roll over in relation to planning applications and the number of ‘trials’ and ‘consultations’ which end up being PR exercises and nothing else.

I am an ‘incomer’ to Chichester but I understand what a precious place the city is.

It would be as well if those members of the council who are tumbling over themselves to exploit the city’s resources remember two truisms which my Cicestrian friends have taught me: Chichester folk have long memories and the unofficial motto of Sussex is ‘we wunt be druv’.

There will be elections in the future. Do the sums, Tony.

Robert Carlysle

Westmead Road

Chichester