Following a two-year freeze on pay and display prices, leading councillors at Chichester District Council discussed making some minor changes to car parking charges in a Cabinet meeting last November. These suggestions included keeping some charges the same, while slightly increasing others to help manage demand across all car parks.

The proposals were put forward for consultation. Following consideration of the feedback from the consultation, Chichester District Council's Cabinet has approved the introduction of these changes in April 2020, but has stated that the changes should only be for 12 months. The impact will be monitored and reviewed before any decision is taken for the following year.

Free of charge evening parking will remain in all the current free parking areas. Parking will also remain free of charge all days and all hours in Crossfield  car park in Fernhurst, Sylvia Beaufoy car park in Petworth, and Florence Road car park in Chichester. In addition, parking in Selsey Marine and Selsey East Beach car parks will continue to be free between 1 November and 31 March each year. The free of charge period of parking in the rural car parks in Midhurst, Petworth, Selsey and East Wittering will also stay in place.

All pay and display car park tariffs where charging is in place are to be increased by 3% in line with the rate of inflation to support the delivery of key services at the council.

A new tariff of £2 per hour will be introduced in two of the council's busiest car parks in Chichester — Little London and Baffins Lane. The aim of this is 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.

The heavily discounted season tickets in the City centre car parks will remain the same price. 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.

These changes were considered by the Chichester District Parking Forum, which is made up of residents, disability groups and business representatives from across the areas, as part of an annual review of parking charges.

"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," says Councillor Martyn Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester 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. We also offer free evening parking in city centre short stay car parks and free parking all days and hours in three car parks across the district. In addition, parking in Selsey Marine and Selsey East Beach car parks will remain free of charge between 1 November and 31 March each year.

"Reviewing and amending our charges is important for a number of reasons. We recognise that some car parks are more popular than others, and these changes will help to better balance the use of our car parks. Car park charges help to pay for the upkeep, running, management and maintenance of our car parks, and we also recognise that parking charges set at the correct level can help to encourage sustainable forms of transport.

"Car park charges also help to control the flow of cars entering and exiting the car parks. This is really important to businesses, because if spaces are blocked for the whole day it prevents new customers from being able to park, to shop or use the local facilities.

"As a council, we've been working on a number of initiatives to proactively support the district's High Streets and local businesses. These include: a business support contact scheme, enabling grants scheme, retail mentoring and shop front grants scheme, the development of an events strategy, improvements to our parks and gardens, improvements to the city centre public conveniences, and the development of an events programme for the district. We also have a dedicated Economic Development team, who directly support small businesses.

"The options which were debated by the Parking Forum are intended to help maximise the use of car parking space across the district and alleviate pressure on those sites where there is greater demand for spaces.

"Making it easier to park and responding to the needs of our customers is a top priority. We have already introduced a series of improvements to make it easier for users, including: contactless payments; payment by phone; 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, we have introduced eighteen new electric vehicle charging points across the district. We successfully bid for a £58,000 government grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, in order to encourage more people to use electric vehicles and to support existing electric vehicle drivers. This grant was used towards the purchase and installation costs of the new charging points in eight of the council's car parks."

Date of release: 7 January 2020

Reference: 3947