Councillors want to achieve free parking in Bognor Regis by Christmas

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Town councillors want to achieve free parking in Bognor Regis by Christmas.

They have formed a five-strong group with the task of scrapping short-stay charges for motorists to entice shoppers back into the town centre.

The cross-party group was set up by the town council to fulfil the goal of allowing drivers to park for free for up to two hours.

Group member Roger Nash said: “We certainly need to get something in place well before Christmas.

“We have a chance to make something work. In my view, it will be a one-year experiment confined to one or two car parks for Bognor town centre.

“It could certainly do with a boost and this is something we all agree would help.”

Fellow member Adam Cunard said: “We want to move this idea forward, hopefully working with a third party, and in consultation with businesses and other groups.

“This task and finish group has been set up to make this viable.”

Paul Wells, another member of the group, said: “It’s very important we take this issue forward.

“But to single out one car park for free parking is wrong at the start.

“We have all got to look at this together as well as to how it will work.

“There’s a lot to be looked at before we put the nuts and bolts together.”

The group’s other members will be Jim Brooks and David Edwards.

It was set up on Monday minutes after Arun District Council took the first step towards removing charges at its Fitzleet multi-storey car park above Morrisons.

The district council’s safer Arun and environment working group agreed to ask the regeneration sub-committee to consider the proposal.

It would mean 343 spaces in the multi-storey being free to use for up to two hours.

“This is comparable to the number of spaces available in Littlehampton’s free parking scheme.

It currently costs 30p to park for up two hours in Fitzleet compared with £1.40 at the nearby Regis Centre and Hothamton sites.

Paul English, the working group’s chairman, said: “We can recommend to the regeneration board that they look at the possibility of getting a scheme in the Fitzleet car park up and running for say a year to see if it would work.

“If it does, it could act as a catalyst. More shops might want to be involved and we can move on to the next car park.”

The project would involve funding from the district and town councils as well as businesses.