UPDATE: Council to consult public over Southwater Country Park car park changes

Parking along Cripplegate Lane in Southwater. People have been parking along the road as they do not want to pay the �1.50 parking charges for the Country Park. Pic Steve Robards  SR1623895 SUS-160823-124739001

Parking along Cripplegate Lane in Southwater. People have been parking along the road as they do not want to pay the �1.50 parking charges for the Country Park. Pic Steve Robards SR1623895 SUS-160823-124739001

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Changes are being proposed to car parking charges at Southwater Country Park in a bid to tackle parking chaos over the summer.

Last year Horsham District Council introduced charges at its car parks serving the popular site, with motorists paying £1.50 to park all day.

Reacting to feedback from residents and visitors the council has opened a public consultation as it looks to amend the rates.

The proposals outline bringing in a new 50p charge for stays of up to an hour over the summer months.

The daily parking rate would also increase to £3.00 while the cost could be dropped altogether during the winter, with visitors free to park on weekdays between November and March.

The country park saw a record number of visitors in 2016 following the creation of the Dinosaur Island adventure play area.

The increase and new charges led to dozens of cars being parked along roads surrounding the site.

Residents were outraged as cars blocked access for vehicles and pedestrians, forcing crisis talks between the district council and the parish council.

HDC said the new charges plus the opening of an overflow car park would help combat the issue as it prepares for another busy summer.

A spokesman said: “High visitor numbers are expected to continue and to accommodate the additional visitors the council has increased parking capacity with an overflow car park in addition to the Worthing Road car park.

“It is expected that the new charges, if adopted, will attract more visitors at quieter times, while at busy times there will be more turnover of cars, freeing up more parking space.”

West Sussex County Council has introduced parking restrictions for those attempting to park in roads around the country park.

To comment on the proposals contact paul.cummins@horsham.gov.uk

Although the council originally said these changes were about to take affect it has since clarified there will be a public consultation before a decision is made.

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