Burgess Hill Labour group are campaigning to save shops in the town centre by introducing free parking.
Residents are being encouraged to sign a petition calling for the £5.3 million provided in the New Homes Bonus to be used on parking to benefit the community, in particular shops and hard-pressed families.
The motion was blocked by Conservatives in July, but Labour collected signatures on Saturday to support the campaign, which can be added to at www.midsussexlabour.org.uk.
Labour councillor Janet Smith, who represents Burgess Hill Town Council Meeds Ward, said: “Local residents and town centre traders have told us that a three hour free parking period would encourage more people to visit Burgess Hill and to spend time browsing in the stores without worrying about what time the car parking for which they have paid expires.
“Local residents want people to park in car parks not in local streets. Yet again this shows how out of touch Conservatives are with the cost of living crisis.”
The money is expected to be collected over a six year period.
At a recent meeting, Conservative Cllr Andrew Barrett-Miles stated the money was already being spent, such as in enabling disabled people to make adaptations to their homes in year one.
This would mean the only place the money could come from would be a tax increase.
Fellow Conservative Pru Moore, Mid Sussex District councillor and cabinet member for leisure and sustainability, said the bonus could disappear with the general election. She said the council could waste money removing parking equipment in year one, only to have to put it back in year two, adding that Burgess Hill is trading well and car parking figures are up.
Councils such as the Vale of the White Horse District Council have implemented similar schemes.
Labour parliamentary candidate for Mid Sussex, Greg Mountain, said, “Mid Sussex District Council introduced limited free parking to generate business last Christmas, but don’t see that approach applies all year round.Conservative councillors should work with Labour to bring about a three hour free parking period throughout the year.”
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