Concern over plans to drive up Bognor Regis parking fees

Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852
Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852

VISITORS to Bognor Regis could face increases in car parking charges of up to 233 per cent next year if councillors agree to send a series of proposals out to consultation on Monday.

Chamber of commerce members have expressed concern over the amended tariffs, which they fear could impact on businesses across the area.

In the worst case, more than two hours’ parking in Culver Road and Rock Gardens in July and August would cost £10, compared to the current charge of £3 for up to four hours – a 233 per cent rise.

The all-day rate in Gloucester Road will also rise 66 per cent from £6 to £10.

Chamber president and chairman Nick Stuart-Nicolson said: “We are absolutely horrified and we don’t really understand why it has to go up every year. “(The 233 per cent figure)is outrageous and certainly will affect tourism. We are shocked.”

A report to Arun District Council’s cabinet states charges ‘have not kept up with the rate of inflation’, resulting in a reduction of income garnered from parking charges.

It states: “Experience has shown that increases in charges have not stopped the seasonal car parks from being full on a hot day during the holidays and at weekends. So a substantial increase in all day charge during July and August should be considered.”

The pricing structures for different car parks varies, with town centre facilities potentially seeing rises of between seven per cent and 42 per cent.

Lyon Street would see a reduction in charges of up to two hours, with the tariff changed to a long-stay model to reflect its usage and encourage use of the Fitzleet car park.

More than four hours would cost £7, compared to the current maximum charge of £3.20 for over two hours.

Shoppers parking in the Regis Centre and Hothamton car parks for more than four hours would pay 50p more under the proposals, at a total cost of £7.

Jim Brooks, chamber executive member and Independent councillor on Arun said he was against the charges, arguing car parking tariffs should only be raised when there was evidence of overuse.

“It should be a means of control, not raising money for the council,” he said.

A spokesman for Arun said: “The council is reviewing its parking rates and is considering increasing charges, which in many areas have not been increased for many years.

“If Arun District Council’s cabinet decide that these proposed charges should go to consultation, the council will then seek the views of residents and town and parish councils before any decision is made.”