Petworth drawn up battle lines in car park charges battle

Petworth Town Council chairman Chris Kemp in the Sylvia Beaufoy car park where charging could be brought in
Petworth Town Council chairman Chris Kemp in the Sylvia Beaufoy car park where charging could be brought in

PETWORTH town councillors fear they face an uphill struggle to stop proposed new car parking charges.

Michael Peet town fellow town councillors he was concerned tight budget and the need to squeeze funding from every possible income stream had made Chichester District Council (CDC) ‘more silent and disconnected than ever before’.

The general consensus is that joined up thinking has gone and it’s everyone for himself, so if they are going to make £20,000 to £30,000 from car parking, so be it

He reminded councillors in the 2009 fight against charges, CDC’s then economic development officer Kenrick Garraway had accepted ‘we did not have the same luxuries as they have south of the Downs’ and had worked to soften the blow.

“The general consensus is that joined up thinking has gone and it’s everyone for himself, so if they are going to make £20,000 to £30,000 from car parking, so be it. If it puts people out of business and begins to make Midhurst and Petworth no longer as attractive to visit, it will take four or five years to manifest itself and no one south of the Downs will remember what the problem was.”

He said an extra 20p on charges could ‘tip people mentally to go somewhere else’.

With only one district councillor from north of the Downs on the parking forum fighting their corner, he felt it was a ‘bit of a steam roller scenario’.

“It was always going to be the thin edge of the wedge and the message is we need to engage in this process and try and explain why we need to maintain a difference from parking tariffs elsewhere in the district.”

Town councillors are particularly concerned that if charging was introduced in the Sylvia Beaufoy car park there would be no incentive for traders and residents to park there which would put pressure on the town centre car park which they want reserved for shoppers.

They are writing to their district councillors Eileen Lintill and Janet Duncton asking them to provide them with ‘chapter and verse’ on the new proposals.

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