CITY workers are set to be hit by a hike in parking charges across the district.
Chichester District Council is scrapping a car- sharing scheme, forcing drivers to pay £8 more every month for a season ticket instead.
If the changes are approved by full council, the hourly parking rate will also be upped.
“Every independent store suffers every time they make these decisions,” said Sue Osbourne, from Chichester.
“The powers that be are completely out of touch with the real world.”
However, cabinet members defended the change saying it would be worse if a private company took over the contracts.
“I’m sure it would be significantly more expensive if the NCP were running it,” said Heather Caird, leader of the council.
“Mostly they are just increases of 10p or 20p.”
The car-sharing ticket, which costs £35 per month and could be used by four cars, was part of a council scheme to reduce traffic in the city.
But the ticket will be merged with the X roving season ticket – bought by most commuters – which is set to rise by 7.5 per cent to £43 per month.
Lynn Corbett, who works in Chichester, said her company would have to pay £798 extra every year for the 14 spaces it keeps for staff. “It is a terrible increase,” she said. The hourly rate will increase by up to 20p per hour – expected to increase the council’s yearly income by a total of more than £118,000.
Speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, Cllr Myles Cullen said the changes were considered by a parking forum which included business and residents.
“Many of our rates would not be increased, including Sunday parking charges,” he said.
“The money we charge is used for the upkeep of our car parks and the rest goes directly back into our services.
“Taking these changes into account we would still offer some of the lowest parking charges on the South coast.”
It was also bad news for drivers in East Wittering and Selsey where an initial free parking period is set to be scrapped following a reprieve earlier this year.
When the charges were originally proposed in January, parish councils raised a string of concerns about the impact on business and tourists.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Graeme Barrett said motorists in Selsey should have an hour’s free parking so they could attend appointments at the Selsey Medical Centre.
However, Cllr Joseph Ransley said it was important to get the ‘best commercial value’ for the council’s assets.
Under the proposals, the free parking period will remain in Petworth and Midhurst.
However, charges after this time will be increased by 20p per hour.