A NEW scheme is coming to the city centre following a rise in the cost of on-street parking.
West Sussex County Council is working with Chichester Business Improvement District (BID) to help local businesses and encourage even more visitors to the city centre.
The council has given Chichester BID 1,000 books of its on-street parking vouchers to distribute to its members, initially in September but also during the lead-up to Christmas.
Businesses can then use them as goodwill gestures to regular customers for use for such things as picking up orders and to extend appointments.
Roger Elkins, county council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “Over the last few months, our officers have been working with Chichester BID to develop this new initiative to
mitigate the cost of on-street parking and as a way of supporting local businesses in both the retail and service sectors.
“If successful, the free distribution offer will be rolled out to Business Improvement Districts across the county.”
An article in The Chichester Post two weeks ago detailed how West Sussex County Council plan to increase on-street parking charges from Monday by around seven per cent.
The increase will affect pay and display on-street charges throughout the city as well as resident and visitor permits.
Baffins Lane, Chapel Street, East Street, Guildhall Street, North Street, North Walls, Priory Road and Tower Street are just a few of the roads which will see charges change from £1.40 per hour to £1.50.
Shoppers will also be unable to pay for just 15 minutes, and instead will have to more than double the price from 35p to 75p for half an hour.
Residents will also see a rise in permits of around five per cent with charges changing from £41 to £43 in zones F, G, H, J, K, L, M and O.
Vouchers for the new scheme will be distributed by the BID Office exclusively to BID levy payers, on a first-come-first-served basis, while stocks last and are valid in any on-street, short-stay charged bay in the city centre (Zone E).
These bays include pay and display and shared-use bays but not resident-only bays.
Cllr Richard Plowman of Chichester City Council said: “Any initiative is to be welcomed but it appears no more than a gesture rather than a planned campaign to tackle parking charges. First come first served hardly sounds strategic.
“On street parking is a maximum of one hour and the real issue is the main car parks managed by the district council whose rise in car park charges including Sunday and then evening charges has been relentless.
“I have noticed over the years this has almost become self defeating in terms of income generation and the impression is that the car parks are emptier now compared with a few years ago which must have affected the shops. Surely we want people to stay longer in the city and enjoy the shopping experience?
“Time for serious thinking about the future of the city centre. Other cities in the north are starting to reduce or do away with inner city car parking charges recognising the damage caused to the local city centre economy and community through self serving income generation for councils from car parking charges.”
Lower-cost, Saturday parking is already offered by the county council in Chichester, with a £3 charge at both the Record Office (opposite Chichester District Council’s Orchard Street car park), and County Hall car parks. There are currently no charges to park in these car parks on a Sunday.
Chichester BID chairman Colin Hicks, pictured below said: “Chichester BID actively work with our local parking authorities to find creative ways of mitigating the impact of parking charges.
Currently, we have a couple of schemes running with the county council that offer reduced-cost summer parking for the customers of our member businesses.”
The vouchers are not valid in car parks. The BID office can be contacted by phone 01243 773263 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org