A second Chichester car park should be closed and turned into an inner city park for ‘relaxation and reflection’, a councillor has suggested.
At a meeting last month Tony Dignum, leader of Chichester District Council from 2015 to 2019, voiced the idea of closing Little London Car Park and using the space as a permanent site for markets.
He felt this would improve air quality in the city centre as it removing the queues of cars waiting to enter the car park.
Further explaining his idea, Cllr Dignum said the arguments could also be made ‘with rather less force’ to the Baffins Lane Car Park, with an alternative use being an inner city park for relaxation and reflection.
He said he would like to see the separate section of the Little London Car Park next to the Oxmarket Gallery retained for parking for Blue Badge holders only.
He suggested there was ample capacity across the city for example at the Avenue de Chartres Car Park to accommodate other existing users.
Cllr Dignum added: “Closure would remove the queues of cars waiting to enter the car park, with their damaging impact on air quality and carbon emissions. A daily average of 600 car movements in and 600 movements out of the inner city would be avoided.
“Closure would allow street markets to be reduced in scale in North Street and East Street which would please most conventional retailers.
“Closure would be in line with the Chichester Vision document which stated: ‘Our ambition is to calm and reduce traffic flows within the city centre, improve air quality and to reverse the priority from vehicles to pedestrians’.
“Closure of most of the Little London car park is only one of the measures needed to reduce traffic in the city centre.
“The Chichester Vision document has an illustration of how West Street might look as a pedestrianised space. Bus stops should be provided at or near each of the four Gates; there should be an electric minibus service running frequently between Northgate car park and the railway station for those needing a lift to their car or bus stop.
“The arguments for closing Little London car park apply with rather less force also to the Baffins Lane car park with its 450 movements a day both in and out.
“An alternative use could be an inner city park for relaxation and reflection.
“If we mean business in tackling air quality and carbon emissions we need to take actions which will not please everybody. Let’s get on with it.”
Readers were less than enthusiastic about the idea of losing parking spaces from the city centre, with one branding it a ‘ludicrous idea’, adding: “Parking is already both scarce and expensive.”
Another reader felt it would end up ‘driving more people away’, while others suggested a park and ride scheme was needed in the city.