Residents’ five-year parking battle is lost

Roger Oakley
Roger Oakley

RESIDENTS blighted by parking problems lost a five-year battle to impose longer restrictions on visitors in town centre streets on Thursday.

County councillors refused to back residents of Zone C – from York Road to Madeira Avenue – who had voted in favour of extending parking restrictions to longer hours and Sundays.

Frustrated residents told Worthing County Local Committee they were fed up of being unable to park in their streets, as visitors took over the limited space at evenings and weekends.

Speaking at the CLC meeting at the Chatsworth Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Virginia Denagy, of the Warwick Road, Alfred Place and York Road parking committee (WAPY) said: “One Sunday a lady who worked at British Airways was losing the will to live because she was circling for 45 minutes after a shift. All she wanted to do was go home and sleep.”

The council had ordered a review into controlled parking zones A, B and C.

Visitors currently have to pay for on-street parking between 9am and 6pm and zones A and B voted to keep the arrangement.

But over half of zone C wanted to extend the hours later in the evening and introduce charges on Sunday.

Businesses were largely against the changes but residents were supported by East Worthing county councillor Roger Oakley, who urged his colleagues to back him. He said: “We should look at what is the best fit for residents, which will probably be the best fit for Worthing at the end of the day.

“If we are providing residents’ parking permits for our local residents we should really be providing some way of using them.”

Mr Oakley failed to convince the majority of the committee, which felt that extending the hours would not solve the problem.

Goring councillor Steve Waight said: “Will the proposal solve the problem? I don’t think it would, as there are 280 spaces in zone C and 320 permits and 13 people waiting. 53 people who want to park won’t be able to.

“The problem wouldn’t be solved.”

Worthing Pier councillor Michael Cloake added: “You want to push them (visitors) out and into the car parks but what right do residents have to exclude them altogether from roads paid for by Worthing residents?

“Roads belong to the residents of Worthing, not just a specific road, so to exclude them is very difficult.”

The committee voted by a majority of five to two to reject Mr Oakley’s recommendations to change the restrictions in zone C. All three zones will remain unchanged.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I am extremely disappointed. Something must be done to alleviate the problems or to respond to the issues, otherwise that small community will suffer.”

Some residents stormed out after the vote, claiming the vote was a ‘fait accompli’.

New signs were erected in parts of zone C days before the meeting, with the current restrictions on them.

Mr Oakley said this was nothing more than scheduled replacements as per a contractual arrangement but admitted it was bad timing.

WAPY will appeal to West Sussex County Council cabinet member for Highways Pieter Montyn to reverse the decision.