LETTER: Impact of revised parking policies

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HDC’s recent parking policies have meant that small businesses have already been priced out of the town car parks, visitors and shoppers have been deterred from spending money in town, and town parking has been driven out into the nearby residential streets (making these far less safe).

I also understand that HDC is planning to sell off other public parking areas, to the obvious detriment of Horsham residents, both financial and fewer visitors and shoppers.

I was very concerned on, a recent weekday evening, arrival at the car park to the rear of the Drill Hall of two of HDC Parking Department’s best. This car park serves the Retirement Home, DrillHall and Cadets buildings (as well as other smaller concerns) and there has been a longstanding agreement for free parking there after 6pm to support attendance, drop off and collection at the Drill Hall activities and Cadet evenings. The greatest concern was that these two HDC representatives threatened young Cadets and their parents, as well as some adults attending (income-generating) classes at the Drill Hall with parking fines for parking on the site. They even threatened Cadet Instructors even though they were parked on known MoD property parking spaces in the area.

Another event on the same day had similar council parking staff stalking the tiny roads outside Trafalgar Primary School at 3pm. Again, on being approached, they implied that wardens would, in the future, be ticketing ‘illegally parked’ cars. One wonders if we should infer that HDC intends residents’ permits (more income) in those roads. Such a crackdown on parent-parking in the surrounding roads when trying to collect very young children may obviously become a child safety issue.

One seriously wonders if our council really cares for the quality of life of the Horsham town resident or has any interest in the town at all.

Can WSCT please investigate and report on HDC plans and can HDC please publish their plans for Horsham parking?

PETER O’CONNOR

Hill Mead, Horsham

A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “There are no plans to sell off any car parks or parking spaces, Horsham town centre has good parking provision and the council will work to ensure that proposed and future retail developments have ample parking. Parking charges in Horsham are favourable compared to other similar areas and the town centre remains vibrant, supported by the council’s investment in improvements such as the proposals for West Street.

“The car park to the rear of the Drill Hall is reserved for permit holders only during the daytime and used by retail workers at discounted rates. Surveys are being conducted to establish how much the area is being used in the evenings but there are no plans to change the parking rules. Our staff are trained to act in a courteous and professional manner, however the council apologises to anyone who feels our staff acted inappropriately and will investigate any allegations that are backed by evidence.

“The parking controls around schools are designed to make roads safer and these are enforced to make sure children aren’t put at risk of being run over due to irresponsible parking making it hard to cross the road. Therefore the council robustly defends its strategy of issuing warnings in areas where there is a problem and subsequently issuing penalty notices to those who continue to pose a danger.

“Likewise, the costs of residents’ permits are very modest and reflect the costs of enforcing parking controls, the law prohibits councils from making a profit from on street parking enforcement.”