LETTER: Lack of empathy for residents

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I read a couple of your pieces on parking charges in Horsham. Are there any similar stories planned on the rip-off parking and draconian policies of the council?

I recently went into Horsham for a job interview with a guy from Switzerland. I stupidly suggested Horsham as a venue as I thought it would be nicer and more convenient than Gatwick Airport.

I got a fine from the council as I went over time on my pay and display ticket. The whole experience was a nightmare.

Both the interviewer and myself had to move our cars half way through (embarrassing) as the council doesn’t allow you to purchase another ticket.

Then I left my car keys in a coffee shop and had to run around town looking for them. This put me over time and I got a ticket.

I wrote to HDC which couldn’t care less. It twice denied my appeal as it isn’t interested in making the town attractive to shoppers and visitors on business.

It just wants the revenue from fines and parking tickets. In fact, it’s the same country wide. Unless there are mitigating circumstances that a council would likely lose in a legal challenge, it upholds the fine. The personal circumstances of the individual are simply not considered.

I wonder if the cost of administering the schemes via council office employees and parking attendants exceeds the revenue it gets back in parking tickets fines?

In other words, are we getting value for money from our council? Why doesn’t it just have all pay on exit car parks?

‘Pay and display’ is archaic, expensive to manage and doesn’t keep people in town as long as possible spending money in the shops.

I find it amazing that the Pets at Home / wine store retail site utilises number plate recognition technology to check the length of time a vehicle has been on their property, yet the council can’t implement anything more modern than ‘pay and display’ or ‘run around looking for a pay station before you return to your car’ systems.

Seems to me like the expensive parking, poor policies, archaic technology and lack of empathy the council shows for residents is a good follow up story!

Especially since we have a large Horsham employer closing down and the council thinks it can attract dozens of new businesses to a major new development in the Crawley gap!

CHRIS BROWN

High Street, Billingshurst