Chichester parking charge increases supported by council leaders

Northgate Car Park
Northgate Car Park

Plans to increase some parking charges in Chichester will go out to public consultation after being given the nod by the district council.

A two-year freeze on pay and display charges was introduced in 2018 but some changes are proposed for April 2020, which could swell the council’s coffers by £320,000 by 2022.

The plans were discussed at a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday (November 5).

If approved in January, there would be a three per cent increase in charges at all pay and display car parks, while charges at two of the busiest – Little London and Baffins Lane  — would rise from £1.50 per hour to £2 per hour.

A council spokesman said: “The aim of this is to encourage people to use the quieter car parks, so that usage is spread across all of the car parks. This will also help reduce congestion caused by cars queuing for spaces in these car parks and will assist with air quality.”

Season tickets in the city car parks would remain the same but in rural areas they would rise from £15 to £17.50 per month, and in Bosham from £17.50 to £20 per month.

Free evening parking would be unchanged.

Martyn Bell, cabinet member for growth, place and regeneration, said: “We know that it’s important to our residents, workers and businesses that any changes to our car parking tariffs are reasonable, and we are confident that this is the case.

“We regularly monitor how our car parks are being used and compare our prices to neighbouring authorities. With these modest changes, we still compare very favourably to other local authority areas in West Sussex for parking.”

The cabinet rejected suggestions from Adrian Moss (Lib Dem, Harbour Villages) that the scheme should go back to the drawing board to come up with something ‘more progressive’.

Cllr Moss said he was concerned that not all new councillors had been made aware of the proposals and was not sure they reflected ‘the views and ideas of local business, local members, the Chamber of Commerce or BID’.

The meeting was told that there simply was not enough time to start again if the changes were to be brought in by April.

Sarah Sharp (Green, Chichester South) questioned whether the proposed changes did enough to get people out of their cars and on to public transport.

She said: “As long as it is cheaper to park a car than it is to take the bus there will be little incentive to travel sustainably.”

Supporting the proposals, Roy Briscoe (Con, Westbourne) and Norma Graves (Con, Fernhurst) reminded the meeting that the council was responsible for the maintenance of the car parks and the ticket machines – all of which cost money.

Cllr Briscoe added: “We’re not talking about increases of pounds on these car parks, we’re talking about 30p in four hours. That’s not even 10p an hour.”