Sunday and evening Chichester car park charge plan

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Drivers could be forced to pay to park in Chichester’s city-centre car parks on Sundays and in the evenings in a bid to boost the council’s coffers.

Councillors are set to consider introducing extra charges to target motorists, nearly two years after a similar proposal was thrown out by the district council amid warnings the cathedral city’s ‘special Sunday feeling’ would be lost.

New overnight charges are also on the table, along with a range of other options for the car parks in an effort to raise the authority’s income by between £472,000 and £683,600.

Currently the net annual income from pay-and-display car parks is £2.43m a year, meaning the proposed measures could offer a boost of 18 to 25 per cent.

In October 2009, the council voted 17-13 against bringing in Sunday charges – despite a recommendation by its executive board – with 12 abstentions.

Now, with the council under continuing financial pressure along with other local authorities across the country, its cabinet is due to consider a number of cash-raising possibilities for the car parks.

Final decisions will be made by the full council.

A report issued by the cash-strapped council said introduction of services at car-park sites through franchised suppliers, including car washing/ valeting, windscreen repairs, advertising and exhibitions, could provide an annual income of £127,200.

Introducing internal advertising in the multi-storey car park could generate about £24,000 a year, and replacing the same car park’s current pay-and-display controls with a pay-on-exit control system had the potential to increase revenue by up to £50,000 a year.

Introduction of a £1 all-day or £1 for four hours/£2 all-day rate in all the council’s city centre car parks on a Sunday could provide a minimum income of £175,000, rising to £350,000 a year.

The introduction of an evening and overnight charge, applied from 6pm to 8am, could provide between £36,000 and £72,000 extra.

Another option put forward in the report is to relocate the council’s parking service administration team to East Pallant House. This could be followed by the relocation of the operations team at a future date, making the re-letting of premises at 3 Market Road possible.

“The relocation would reduce premises costs by £29,400 per annum,” said the report.

“In addition, this property has the potential, through letting to the private sector, to provide an £18,000 income stream per annum, producing a total saving and income generation of £47,400.”

Councillors will also be asked to consider other initiatives relating to the ‘longer-term sustainability’ of the parking service.

The report said preliminary surveys showed the potential to add an extra 195 parking spaces in the city centre, and potentially 68 more as part of the Grange development at Midhurst.

It pointed out that a study undertaken by consultants had estimated a further 500 spaces would be needed in the city centre by 2018.