Cost of parking set to soar

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THE COST of parking in Horsham is set to soar after the district council announced it had to find another £1.3m worth of savings next year.

The council’s doomed park and ride and Hop Oast is likely to see another £70,000 removed from its subsidy - with the parking there turned free but users paying a commercial rate to use the bus service into town.

Meanwhile, other car parking charges in the town centre are also facing big increases of up to 50 per cent.

It’s not all gloom for council tax payers.

The council is sticking to its guns to freeze council tax for another year - a decision it took months ago and ahead of the Government’s announcement on the subject. And prudent HDC has kept its council tax lower than just about anywhere else in the country.

But overall, the savings will have a big impact on the town - amid fears that a further rise in parking costs could damage the number of visitors to the town at a time when the retail economy remains fragile.

A package of proposals is under consultation before councillors decide the budget for the next financial year in February, including a 50 per cent price hike at Hurst Road car park and 25 per cent at Swan Walk and Denne Road.

Car parking is on the agenda for decision at a full council meeting on Wednesday as council leader Robert Nye (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) said it was a ‘major part of the budget’ they wanted to resolve before February.

The car park charges proposals would mean an extra £330,000 for the council.

For the full story, read today’s County Times.