MIDHURST visitors will be able to park free for less time in two of its three main car parks after controversial changes were approved on Tuesday.
Chichester District Council cabinet voted to reduce the town’s free parking offer from two hours to one hour in its North Street and Post Office car parks on Tuesday, subject to consultation.
But it was better news for Fernhurst, with the proposed introduction of charges rejected by councillors.
Petworth’s free Sylvia Beaufoy facility will also remain unchanged.
CDC leader Tony Dignum said: “We are treating the rural towns evenly, with all their main car parks having at least one free hour and similar rates for longer stays.”
Tariffs in Grange Road will not change but two hours’ parking elsewhere will now cost 40p. The changes were fought by Independent councillor Steve Morley, who argued the two hours’ free parking represented a ‘lifeline’ for traders.
Harting Independent Andrew Shaxson also spoke against the changes in rural areas.
Mr Morley said: “Midhurst businesses would prefer the two hour non-charge to remain and I have to ask why it is necessary to reduce the hours of non-charging when we have demonstrated how useful this facility is to the vibrancy of the economy of our market town.”
Despite his pleas, Mr Dignum told Mr Morley he could tell his residents they were getting a ‘fair deal’, with 60 per cent of the town’s spaces still subject to two free hours.
“I’m not sure they will agree,” Mr Morley replied.
Fernhurst and Petworth’s Sylvia Beaufoy car parks were spared the introduction of charges, after cabinet members successfully defended their causes.
Philippa Hardwick said: “Fernhurst is unusual. It is a very small village and the car park was part of the Crossfield development. The whole plan was residents would be able to depend on that as parking is not provided in that development.”
The price of rural season tickets sold for car parks in, Petworth, Midhurst, East Wittering and Selsey will rise from £10 a month to £12.50 a month.
Bosham season tickets will go from £10 to £15.