Parking charges until 8pm are to be enforced permanently at two city centre car parks after a decision just seven months into a one-year trial.
The extended charging hours at Northgate car park, for Chichester Festival Theatre, and New Park Road, were introduced on a trial basis last April and have already generated £52,800 more than expected.
But last night an open meeting of Chichester BID heard the trial had been extended indefinitely and approved by cabinet.
That decision was made in November last year, seven months into the trial, when councillors agreed to a general increase in off-street parking charges.
A report at the time noted concerns over loss of trade but recommended the situation continued to be monitored and ‘that evening charges are implemented permanently at the end of the trial period (from 1st April 2018), with work undertaken to amend the tariff so that customers are given the parking duration paid rather than restricted to the tariff’.
The issue emerged at Wednesday’s BID meeting as part of wider concerns about the impact of parking fees on city centre trading.
One business owner said: “This is what affects us. You’re looking at footfall, increasing dwell time, it’s to do with parking.”
Tania Murphy, the district council officer responsible for parking, responded: “We take that consideration very seriously, that’s why we always look to see what neighbouring authorities are charging.”
But the business owner countered that the city should be competitive.
He said: “We should try and get these customers from other areas, our catchment area is so important to us.
“So Worthing or wherever has high parking charges, let’s not match them.”
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