By Kelly Wickham
The district and county council are both looking at parking in the city with a new consultation taking place by the district council.
Earlier this year, the Chichester Post detailed the county council’s consultation for the Chichester Parking Management Plan – a method of controlling/managing on-street parking across the entire city.
Around 1,341 responses were received in total on the on-street parking consultation run by the county council.
The district council’s consultation is due to take place after changes have been proposed to some of the district council’s car parks.
The council has said the increase in prices is in order to help balance demand for car parking spaces across its car parks and if given the go-ahead, the changes would be introduced from April, 2020.
All pay and display car park tariffs where charging is in place are to be increased by three per cent in line with the rate of inflation to support the delivery of key council services.
Two of the council’s busiest car parks (Little London and Baffins Lane) will receive a slightly higher increase, with charging periods starting from up to one hour.
Following a two-year freeze on pay and display prices, district council cabinet members discussed making some minor changes to car parking charges at their meeting on Tuesday morning.
A spokesperson for Chichester Business Improvement District said: “The BID are disappointed that car parking charges may go up and feel there needs to be a change in the council’s approach to parking charges in general.
“While we accept the council’s requirement for increased income, the retail sector needs concessions in parking to incentivise shoppers to stay longer in the city centre.”
The county council also confirmed new prices for permit charges and pay and display areas in all the Chichester controlled parking zones which took effect in September this year.
It is proposed that some charges to district council car parks, which will be in place for two years, will remain the same, while some will see a slight increase. The council will soon be consulting on the proposals.
It was also proposed that free of charge evening parking would remain in all the current free parking areas. Parking will also remain free of charge all days and all hours in Crossfield in Fernhurst, Sylvia Beaufoy in Petworth and Florence Park in Chichester.
In addition, parking in Selsey Marine and Selsey East Beach car parks will remain free between November 1, and March 31, each year.
The free of charge period of parking in the rural car parks in Midhurst, Petworth, Selsey and East Wittering will also remain in place.
The council said the aim was to encourage people to use the quieter car parks, so that usage is spread across all of the car parks.
This will also help reduce congestion caused by cars queuing for spaces in these car parks and will assist with air quality.
“We know that it’s important to our residents, workers and businesses that any changes to our car parking tariffs are reasonable and we are confident that this is the case,” said Cllr Martyn Bell, cabinet member for growth, place and regeneration at the district council.
“We regularly monitor how our car parks are being used and compare our prices to neighbouring authorities. With these modest changes, we still compare very favourably to other local authority areas in West Sussex for parking.”
Season tickets in the city centre car parks will remain at the same price and be frozen for two years. An increase will be made to the price of rural car park season tickets from £17.50 to £20 per month in Bosham and £15 to £17.50 per month in other rural car parks.
The proposed charges have been considered by the Chichester District Parking Forum, which is made up of residents, disability groups and business representatives from across the area, as part of an annual review of parking charges, and will be consulted on later this year.
At the meeting, the leader allowed Cllr Adrian Moss, leader of the Liberal Democrats, to speak. He said he was concerned that not all new councillors had been made aware of the proposals and that perhaps the best idea was to ‘go back to the drawing board’.
However, Tania Murphy, divisional manager for place at the council, said there would not be enough time to start again if the changes were to be brought into effect by April.
Cllr Roy Briscoe said he was in favour of the changes, saying: “We’re not talking about increases of pounds on these car parks.
“We’re talking about 30p in four hours. That’s not even 10p an hour.”