Proposed evening car parking charges at New Park Road would be £1.20 per hour in keeping with the existing daytime tariff, Chichester District Council has clarified.
The plans would be implemented as part of a one year trial to introduce charges between 6-8pm at Northgate and New Park Road.
Chichester Festival Theatre and New Park Road Centre have expressed concern that visitors could be discouraged by the fees, which are due to be put to a public consultation.
David Brown, chairman of the New Park Road cinema trust, said the evening fees were ‘opportunistic’ and a disadvantage to many patrons who could not walk far.
He said: “It’s not good business to upset customers and just for the likes of that, it would be better to see a small increase across all their car parks.
“If you spread it across all car parks it would save them having to patrol those car park for another two hours.”
Chichester District Council cabinet members, who voted to approve the trial earlier this month, heard that members of the council’s Parking Forum had not been against the changes.
It is anticipated that the extension of paid for hours at the two car parks will raise just under £100,000, some of which will go towards maintaining the car parks.
Mitigation measures on the trial include plans for free 20-minute short stay bays at New Park Road to enable customers to collect food from nearby take-away outlets.
Observer readers gave a mixed reaction to the plans, with many residents angered by council leader Tony Dignum’s comment that a two-hour £1.40 fee at Northgate would be three percent on a £45 theatre ticket.
Of the 115 readers who took our online poll, 95 agreed that a change in car parking ticket hours would change their decision on an evening out.
But some readers supported the plans.
Nigel Wood commented on Facebook: “It’s a great idea, long overdue. You don’t expect to park for nothing if you go to a top venue.”
Notices giving a start date for the consultation will be placed in both car parks and in this paper.