MORE free parking is needed to boost Bognor Regis town centre.
The chairman and president of the town’s chamber of commerce told its annual meeting the central retailing area required help to counter the impact of the development of Oldlands Farm for retail and business uses.
He said out of town shopping had become the norm. “It is an unfortunate fact of life that out of town shopping is increasingly popular – mainly because of the simple convenience and also very much because of the free parking.
“So why does the local authority not recognise this simple fact and respond with the provision of more free parking in the town centre?
“This would certainly increase footfall in the town, retain vital existing businesses and attract new businesses.
“Town centres are suffering throughout the country. I’m sure that, without Morrisons, Boots, WH Smith and those other main players, our town centre would collapse, just as other towns have witnessed in recent times.
“Luckily, attempts are being made to improve the London Road/High Street experience, together with ambitious plans for the railway station. We just hope it will be enough.”
Free parking for two hours has been available in three town centre car parks – Hothamton, Lyon Street and Fitzleet – since January 1.
Arun and Bognor councils joined with the town’s traders to increase the spaces from the two sites which had operated for two years previously.
Motorists have to buy a £1 disc to benefit from the 605 free spaces.