‘Pray and display will shame Chichester’

Introducing parking charges on Sundays in Chichester will ‘bring shame’ to the city if they are in place for next year’s Armistice Day, campaigners have said.

City councillor Mick Shone told the Observer the charges would be a case of ‘pray and display’ if veterans, their families and other service attendants were forced to pay parking charges.

Calls to halt the parking charges by using a Parish Poll – a rarely-used law where only residents of a parish can call for a referendum on a matter – have been rejected.

It was decided at a unique Parish Meeting, at the Assembly Rooms on November 10, to launch an online petition to fight the parking charges instead.

“Armistice Day is Remembrance Sunday next year and veterans will be charged up to £10 by the council to attend the remembrance services at the cathedral,” said apprentice clock-maker Mr Hooper.

“Those who did not pay with their lives now have to pay with their wallet. Such charges bring shame to the city of Chichester.”

Cllr Shone told the Observer: “Remembrance Day is on Sunday, November 11, 2012. One of the most solemn and important days in our national calendar.

“Each year sees a huge influx of people of all ages honouring the fallen at the annual service in Chichester. “Will Chichester District Council suspend their Sunday car parking charges on that day, or will it be a case of pray and display?”

The main reason the Parish Poll was rejected at last Thursday’s meeting was because it would cost Chichester City Council about £6,000 to fund.

An e-petition has been launched to fight Chichester District Council’s plans to introduce Sunday parking charges from next April.

A paper copy of the petition is going to be made available for signing at the City Council House in North Street.

This can be signed online at: http://petitions.chichester.gov.uk/petitions.ti/keepingchichesterspecial

What the councils say

A Chichester District Council spokesman said: “When Sunday charging begins it will cost £1 for four hours and £2 for over four hours for the vast majority of car parking spaces in Chichester – about 70 per cent of spaces.

“This is much cheaper than most other local towns and cities. Blue badge holders can park for free in all pay and display car parks. The current modest level of charging in the district’s car parks in Selsey, Petworth and Midhurst is fixed until April 2013.”

A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman warned: “If the district council decided to charge in their car parks on Sundays, and this moved cars on to residential streets, then WSCC, as the highway authority, may need to review the operational hours of parts of the Controlled Parking Zone(s) in Chichester.