By Kelly Wickham
A district councillor has reiterated his views on closing a car park in the city centre to use as a permanent site for markets.
At the full Chichester District Council held at the end of last month, Cllr Tony Dignum said he was able to speak only briefly about his proposal to close Little London car park and use it as a permanent site for markets.
Speaking to the Chichester Post, he said: “I would propose retaining the separate section adjacent to the Oxmarket Centre of Arts for parking for blue badge holders. There is ample capacity in for example the Avenue de Chartres car park to accommodate other existing car park users.
“Closure would remove the queues of cars waiting to enter the car park, with their damaging impact on air quality and carbon emissions. A daily average of 600 car movements in and 600 movements out of the inner city would be avoided.
“Closure would allow street markets to be reduced in scale in North Street and East Street which would please most conventional retailers.”
Cllr Dignum also said closure would be in line with the Chichester Vision document which states: ‘Our ambition is to calm and reduce traffic flows within the city centre, improve air quality and to reverse the priority from vehicles to pedestrians’.
Cllr Dignum continued: “Closure of most of the Little London car park is only one of the measures needed to reduce traffic in the city centre.
“The Chichester Vision document has an illustration of how West Street might look as a pedestrianised space. Bus stops should be provided at or near each of the four gates, there should be an electric minibus service running frequently between Northgate car park and the railway station for those needing a lift to their car or bus stop.”
On Tuesday last week, district councillors agreed to designate more areas in the city centre for street trading. They debated the existing street trading restrictions after a consultation had finished.
At the meeting, councillors agreed for officers to proceed with changing selected streets in Chichester city centre to approve the street trading with effect from April 1.
it was originally the city’s mayor, Cllr Richard Plowman who asked why Little London car park was not included.
Cllr Dignum, former district council leader from 2015 to 2019, agreed with Cllr Plowman.
After a vote, councillors at Tuesday’s meeting agreed to the progress proposals to allow street trading in the Little London car park.
Cllr Dignum said: “The arguments for closing Little London car park apply with rather less force also to the Baffins Lane car park with its 450 movements a day both in and out. An alternative use could be an inner city park for relaxation and reflection.
“If we mean business in tackling air quality and carbon emissions we need to take actions which will not please everybody. Let’s get on with it.”