Tourists could pay more for Bognor seafront parking

TOURISTS could be charged more for parking along Bognor Regis seafront.

The prospect of higher fees in the sites compared to the town centre has been raised by Arun District Council.

Those charges could also be levied for longer rather than ending on September 30 for the winter.

These are among the options which the council is considering to help it raise money to offset the tough financial climate which will see £2m of savings having to be made in 2013/14 alone.

Residents are being asked to comment upon the ideas in a consultation to shape Arun’s priorities between 2013-17.

Two of the suggestions on which residents are being asked their views are:

* there should be a clear difference in charges for town-centre car parks which cater for shoppers and those on the seafronts which cater for visitors to the district: and

* summer season parking charges for seafront car parks should be extended for a longer period to increase income.

Cllr Francis Oppler (Orchard) said: “Increasing parking charges along the seafront gives out all the wrong messages. It would have an impact on tourism and would only force people to other towns.”

Cllr Paul Dendle (Arundel) said: “This is all about supply and demand. There’s a limited supply of parking spaces on the seafronts in the summer but unlimited demand for them.

“We should take some of that money (from higher charges) and freeze parking charges in our town centres and help their economic vitality.”

Cllr Barbara Oakley (Middleton) said: “I do have concerns about variable parking charges for tourists, particularly in the summer. Not all people who park there are tourists. A lot of our residents who don’t live immediately close to the seafront park there with their relatives and spend money in the towns.”

Cllr Phil Hitchins (Aldwick West) said differential charging worked well in the West Country.

Councillors voted unanimously to publish the draft priorities for consultation and for their officers to begin work to achieve £2m in savings.

The consultation results will be debated in September ready for the decisions to take effect from April.