Public to have a say on increases to Arun car parking charges

Parking prices could rise across Arun next year with charging introduced in some previously free-to-park areas – but not before a public consultation.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 11:11 am
Parking charges across Arun could rise from next April

That was the key message from Arun District Council’s environment committee chair David Edwards (Con, Felpham East).

He said it is a ‘delicate subject’ and that residents had already contacted him with concerns about the proposed increases.

Environment committee members approved a public consultation on Wednesday (November 17).

Following this, the proposed increases will return to the committee in March and, if approved, could come into effect from April 1.

What are the changes?

Hourly parking charges could increase by up to £1.00 in some places while some annual car parking permits could increase by up to £50.

Charging could also be introduced at five council run car parks which are currently free.

These are: Bersted Brooks, Brookfield in Littlehampton, Grassmere and Links Avenue in Felpham, and Shrubbs Field in Middleton On Sea.

However, parking at these five sites would still be free for between one and two hours with charging in place between 8 am and 6 pm.

The proposed charges can be found here: https://democracy.arun.gov.uk/documents/s9504/Variation%20to%20Parking%20Charges%20-%20Appendix%20A.pdf

How did councillors react?

Green councillor Isabel Thurston (Barnham) asked if the reasons for the changes could be included in public notices and consultation documents.

“I think it’s extremely good that we’re consulting, it’s very democratic,” she said.

“But is it possible to explain that the extra income will be used for the public’s benefit?

“If we can explain the benefits, then people might understand more.”

Council officers said this is not something they would usually include with public notices, but there is potential to advise people of the reasons for the changes online and through press releases.

Steve Goodheart (Arun Ind, Hotham) wanted to know if physical notices would be put up.

Council officers confirmed this is a legal requirement and notices will be displayed in all the affected car parks.

Notices will also be placed in local newspapers and online.

David Huntley (Ind, Pagham) thought that a main reason why visitors come to ‘Bognor instead of Chichester’ is the free parking.

Why could parking become more expensive?

The council owns and operates 22 pay and display car parks in Bognor Regis, Littlehampton and Arundel.

It is currently reviewing charges to bring them more in line with inflation, which could see tens of thousands in extra income.

If charges were increased by 2.5 per cent (in line with the April 2022 inflation rate), the council could bring in £32,000 in extra income.

If the changes go ahead, it will be the first time since 2016 that town centre parking has increased in price.

Seasonal car parking charges were last increased in April.

A West Sussex comparison showed that Arun has the second cheapest charges up to two hours in its town centre car parks and the cheapest for multi-storeys.

But Arun has the highest average yearly charge for its coastal car parks which welcome visitors from as far as London and beyond, especially during the summer.