Local Alliance Chichester District councillors, have expressed disappointment at the district council’s decision to re-open the Selsey car parks on Thursday.
Cllr Donna Johnson (Sidlesham with Selsey North) and Cllr Tim Johnson (Selsey South) say the original plan had been to open them last weekend, in line with other car parks across the district but, following representations to the council, the decision was postponed while other Selsey district councillors, the police and the relevant cabinet member were consulted.
Cllr Donna Johnson said: “Chichester district covers a large area and it is quite understandable that people will want to travel to the coastal plains following the restrictions of lockdown.
“However, not all areas are the same. Selsey has a disproportionately older population and some very significant economic challenges.
“We have to be aware that for many of our residents, leaving the town is not possible at the moment. If we become swamped with visitors along our coastal pathways, causing difficulties with social distancing, the more vulnerable in our community, those we should be protecting, risk being adversely affected.
“While we understand that this may be an inconvenience for some of our residents and there will always be arguments for and against, we think on balance, that the safest course of action would have been to keep the car parks closed here, at least until after the bank holiday.
“None of the cafes are open, there are no facilities for visitors at all.”
Cllr Tim Johnson added: “We monitored the car parks over the weekend and there were no highway issues.
“We have been contacted by over 70 residents, all of whom asked that the car parks stay closed for the time being, added to which the overwhelming majority of social media contributors said they should not re-open. We are disappointed that the cabinet member, whose portfolio includes the car parks and does not live here, did not feel it necessary to contact us to discuss our issues, even though his views were sought.
“Our residents have worked hard to ensure that the transmission rate here is low and we have protected each other. We can but hope that doesn’t change.”
All car parks across the district will be open on Thursday.