Car park changes to be introduced to cope with increased demand

Changes are being made to some of Chichester District Council's car parks from April in order to help manage the increasing demand for car parking spaces and to cover rising maintenance costs.

The season tickets offered across the district have been redesigned in order to cope with demand. Some season tickets have been made cheaper, while some of the oversubscribed car parks have seen an increase. The aim is to encourage people to use the quieter car parks, so that usage is spread across all of the car parks.

Two of the council's busiest car parks - Northgate and New Park car parks in Chichester - will also see an increase in the chargeable hours from 6pm until 8pm, Monday to Saturday. This is in order to manage the increasing demand for car parking spaces and cover rising maintenance costs. It will be introduced on a trial basis for 12 months, at which point it will be reviewed. This will mean visitors paying 70 pence for an hour, or £1.50 for two hours to cover their visit in Northgate, or £1.20 for an hour or £2.60 for up to two hours in New Park Road. All other car parks in the city will continue to remain free from 6pm. The council provides 17 car parks in Chichester city. Following feedback from a local residents' group some short stay limited bays offering free parking for up to 20 minutes will be introduced at the New Park Road car park to enable drivers to collect take away food from local businesses.

The hourly car parking charges across the council's car parks will remain unchanged and are frozen until March 2018.

The changes follow a public consultation process on the proposals. Twenty one responses were received and considered from local organisations and residents, which included responses both for and against the proposals. The car parks across the district are used by an average of 4,500 users a day.

The proposals were put forward as part of an annual review of the district's car parks. This review is carried out by the Chichester District Parking Forum, which is made up of residents, groups and business representatives from across the district. The Forum will also monitor the trial introduction of the extension of charges in Northgate and New Park over the next 12 months and will take account of all feedback.

"Even though all of our Chichester car parks are centrally located, some car parks are more popular than others. In order to meet demand for car parking spaces, we hope that these changes will encourage people to consider using some of our other car parks. This will be achieved through altering the season tickets that we offer and running a trial to increase the chargeable hours from 6pm until 8pm from Monday to Saturday in the short-stay New Park car park and the long-stay Northgate car park in Chichester. Whilst we know that changing car park charges is a difficult decision, we are attempting to balance our budgets and maintain our essential services," says Cllr Gillian Keegan, Cabinet Member for Commercial Services at Chichester District Council.

"Capacity in our most popular car parks is an issue. Northgate and New Park are some of our busiest car parks. We offer 17 car parks in the centre of the city and so we hope that this change will mean that the usage is more evenly spread. Our maintenance costs are also rising and so this has also been factored into our proposals. We have always had a policy that the users of the car parks should pay for their use, rather than our taxpayers. We will make sure that the changes are well publicised.

"Our charges are competitive and we are still one of the cheapest local authority areas in West Sussex for parking, some of which charge up until 10.30pm and even all night in some cases. We are also introducing a number of improvements to our car parks to make it easier for users. We are one of the first authorities in the country to offer contactless payments. We are also introducing payment by phone; further machines which accept card payments; season tickets that you no longer have to display and are able to manage online; website improvements; and, the remarking of bays; to make parking easier. In addition to this, all of our Chichester car parks and the majority of our rural car parks are accredited by the British Parking Association under the Safer Parking award scheme."

The season ticket changes include:

  • introducing a new Specific Season Ticket for Avenue de Chartres. This would cost £44 per month (£43 when purchased online) or £473 per year - 12 months for the price of 11.
  • removing the Avenue de Chartres car park from the X Roving Season Ticket. Northgate, Cattle Market and Basin Road car parks would continue to be covered by this ticket.
  • increasing the cost of an X Roving Season Ticket from £47 per month to £50 per month (£49 when purchased online) - 12 months for the price of 11.
  • increasing the cost of Specific Season Tickets for the Market Road, Market Avenue / South Pallant and Orchard Street car parks from £52 per month to £75 per month. These car parks are in high demand and there is currently a waiting list.
  • increasing charges for Rural Season Tickets which are sold for car parks in Bosham, Petworth, Midhurst, East Wittering and Selsey. The Bosham season ticket would rise from £15 per month to £16.50 and the others from £12.40 per month to £14 per month.

These charges will help cover the costs of maintenance, lighting and the CCTV in the car parks. Charging will also be introduced for motorhomes and for electric cars using the car charging points.