Selsey Councillor speaks out against parking charges

A COUNCILLOR has ‘hit the roof’ over plans to increase parking charges in Selsey, and not Midhurst.

District councillor John Connor slammed the move the day after a decision was made to increase parking charges in rural coastal areas.

Parking costs will increase in Bosham, Selsey, Bracklesham and Bosham, and free parking periods will be axed. However, Petworth and Midhurst will be free from an increase in charges, as they are believed to be more ‘economically fragile’.

Speaking at a Selsey Town Council meeting, Cllr Connor said: “The implication is that Selsey is robust.

“I really hit the roof at that one.”

However, he accepted car parks are not provided as a statutory duty and the full cost of owning the car parks had to be recovered.

The changes were agreed at a Chichester District Council overview and scrutiny meeting last Tuesday. Officer Kenrick Garraway said he factored in the impact on business and income of the car parks during the parking charges review.

“With the government cuts coming it all becomes very tight,” he said.

“There is clearly a split in the behaviour patterns of our coastal car parks, compared to our rural car parks.

“Many of the coastal users are visitors, and are used to paying much higher charges than we seek.”

He added: “Midhurst as a town has had a very difficult year.”

The review of rural car park charges found Midhurst shops had suffered badly over the last year, particularly from work on the Grange and school. It was agreed removing a free parking period would have a detrimental impact on the town and increasing Petworth prices would drive visitors away. However, some members were concerned the new charges on the coast would cause drivers to look for other places to park.

Selsey was found to already have problems with disabled badge holders extending their allocated waiting times,

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Carol Purnell, said: “This will force all of the cars out of the car parks all the while we have Budgens car park in Selsey free. We really need to sort that first before increasing charges. We need enforcement people working on all the displacement that occurs.”

Councillors also expressed concerns about the impact on Witterings medical centre and the safety of school children.