A crackdown on long-running problems over illegal street trading, proliferating A-boards and busking in Chichester city centre is being demanded.
District and county councillors who are also members of the city council are being urged by the city’s community affairs committee to push for more action.
There were protests at its meeting that the problems were down to lack of proper enforcement action.
But reservations were expressed over a suggestion that the city council should itself take over responsibility for enforcement, as the costs involved would mean Chichester people facing ‘double taxation’ – because the district and county authorities already include provision for this in their respective council tax bills.
Cllr Richard Plowman argued in favour of a ‘one stop shop,’ with the city council taking over responsibility for A-boards and buskers from the county and for street trading and charitable street collections from the district.
“We should take on board what is being offered, and make a start,” he said. There were more than 80 A-boards at the moment, and a reduction in this number would get enormous support from the people of Chichester.
But Cllr Peter Budge said the city council would have to employ another person to do this, with the cost falling on the precept.
“It should be our job to make sure the county and district do it properly, not say we can do it better, because it will cost a great deal of money,” he declared.
Cllr Tony Dignum said he was not surprised the county wanted to get rid of responsibility for A-boards and buskers. “We don’t want to involve extra resource, but to make sure the present authorities do their job,” he told the committee.
Committee chairman Cllr David Siggs said the present situation had come about because of the inability of the other two councils to get their house in order.
“We are better suited to do it,” he asserted.
However, after a debate, Cllr Siggs successfully moved that local district and county councillors should be asked to press for more action by the other authorities.
Cllr Plowman commented: “For 25 years we have had A-boards, and in 25 years nothing has happened.
“Can we give a better service to the people of Chichester? I believe we can.”
But Cllr Budge said: “We should not ask people to pay yet more money for something which is being done inefficiently.
“We should get the thing put right, and get them to do the job they are supposed to do.”
What do you think?
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