A district councillor has ‘called in’ the decision to roll out unpopular evening charging at two Chichester centre car parks, calling it an ‘unfair, cynical, revenue-raising exercise’.
Cllr Richard Plowman, a city and district councillor for the West of Chichester, wants to overturn the CDC cabinet decision on Tuesday which approved introducing new night-time charges at both New Park Road and Northgate car parks, initially on a one-year trial.
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Having gained the support of five fellow CDC councillors that he needs, he submitted the ‘call in’ this morning’, Friday, December 13.
It means the decision has been put on hold until will be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, whose members will then decide on a recommendation which will have to be debated at full council.
Lib Dem cllr Plowman said: “I got the signatures of five Conservative councillors and handed my call in this morning so I am hopeful we can get this decision on evening car parking charges overturned.
“It is seen by most as no more than an unfair, cynical, revenue-raising exercise and in doing so will cause harm to the (Chichester Festival) Theatre, the community groups using the New Park Community Centre and the fragile night-time economy in Chichester, perversely currently being promoted in the Chichester Vision.”
A public consultation saw 21 responses, four that were positive and 17 strongly against, including objections from Chichester Festival Theatre (CFT) and groups who use the community centre.
The CFT said it would have a ‘totally disproportionate impact on theatre goers’, while groups who use the New Park Community Centre, like Chichester Ronin Judo Club, said the new charges might force them to close.
Cllr Plowman added: “Strong objections were clear in the consultation but largely ignored in the cabinet discussion.
“The people are very sceptical of the way consultation is done and how the results are often summarily dismissed as we have seen from the A27 options consultations.”
On Tuesday cabinet members unanimously approved the new evening charges, saying it was important the ‘user pays’ for parking and that day-time users weren’t subsidising the maintenance costs and free usage during the night.
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