Call to phase in any Chichester parking changes

Orange is existing CPZs, yellow is private estates and blue is proposed new or amended CPZs
Orange is existing CPZs, yellow is private estates and blue is proposed new or amended CPZs

West Sussex County Council has been asked to phase in a parking management plan in Chichester rather than bringing in the whole thing in one lump.

The plan, which will cover the city as well as parts of Donnington, Fishbourne and Westhampnett, is being drawn up to deal with the parking ‘free for all’ which leaves streets chock-a-block with cars.

At a meeting of Chichester District Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, members agreed a response to the county council’s plans, which will see parking permits issued to residents, visitors and commuters, for a fee.

The response said that phasing in the project would allow the district council to look into any problems before opening the plan to the whole area.

Leader Tony Dignum said the county’s view was that unmanaged on-street parking ‘limits the ability of residents and others to park’.

He added: “I think we’d all agree there undoubtedly are some key issues. Commuters are taking space and so depriving residents of a place to park.

“Roads are often dangerously parked up on both sides of the road and at corners. Inadequate spaces for visitors to shops, schools and doctors’ surgeries is a common experience.”

Members were told that the past policy of simply extended the current Controlled Parking Zones had pushed the problem further out.

A consultation on the plans, which closed on March 31, has attracted some 600 responses.

Mr Dignum said: “As you might imagine, the reaction has been mixed.

“Some have welcomed it where they’re impacted by the current free for all. Others have been hostile because either they don’t perceive a problem or they perceive the solution proposed is worse than the current situation.”

Enforcement for the scheme, which will see residents charged £43 per year for a permit, will fall to the district council.

Jane Kilby (Con, Chichester East) said: “I’m sure many residents in the zones where there is unmanaged on-street parking will welcome this.

“And I’m glad to hear that residents will get first priority on permits because I think this is the one area of concern – where there is a lot of commuter parking at the moment and local residents don’t have access to their own streets, let alone their properties.”

Mrs Kilby did have concerns about how the plan would affect small out-of-city businesses, such as hairdressers, which rely on on-street parking.

Mr Dignum said that a detailed agreement between the two councils was not yet complete, and the scheme would not come into force until April 2020 at the earliest.

He added: “I think the cabinet will be looking to officers to work at a detailed level with residents and the county to get the right solution for each particular area.

“There’s no one size fits all in this one.

“Implementation, we’re glad to say, has been moved back to April 2020 at the earliest, so it gives plenty of time to get the scheme refined in a way most useful to residents, visitors and commuters.”