I have to respond to the letter carried last week from Mr John FK Dixon of Aldwick and the comments he made in respect to civil parking enforcement (CPE) in Bognor Regis and car park charging.
The on-street parking restrictions for Bognor Regis have been put in place as part of the controlled parking zone (CPZ) drawn up and implemented by West Sussex County Council (WSCC).
The only thing that has changed is that Arun District Council now acts as WSCC’s agent for carrying out enforcement on the ground in replacement of traffic wardens, who used to be employed by the police.
It is wrong, as may be implied by the letter from Mr Dixon, that six full-time and four part-time enforcement officers are all operating in Bognor Regis on any one day and at any one time.
This is the level of resource to undertake CPE across the whole of the Arun district.
The whole point of on-street parking management is to ensure the spaces made available are used for the purpose designated.
For example, if there is a two-hour restricted waiting then that space is designed to have a good turnover so more users are able to park and then conduct their activities within the town.
Prior to Arun taking on CPE, complaints had been growing about the lack of enforcement leading to the widespread abuse of on-street parking spaces and all that is changed is there is now a better, more targeted approach to this.
I do hope Mr Dixon is not suggesting there should be a parking free-for-all which would see not only fewer spaces available for parking but also abuse of spaces designated for disabled users, double yellow line infringements and highway hazards, all of which would surely have a more adverse impact on the town than sensible or proper management of the car parking spaces.
One only has to look at the recent reported experience of Aberystwyth whereby a free-for-all led to substantial negative impact on trade and the town generally in terms of attractiveness and use by visitors.
Separately, Arun District Council does not have exorbitant car-park charges.
The charges for short-stay (town-centre) parking are on average lower than any of the surrounding towns and I hardly think 30p for up to two hours’ free car parking in Fitzleet car park can be considered exorbitant.
The Rustington free-parking regime mentioned is paid for by the retail landlord and traders of Rustington in a similar way to supported contributions for the two-hour free-parking scheme in Littlehampton, with support coming from the Littlehampton Town Council and traders.
This is an offer which ADC has made over the years to Bognor Regis traders which has been rejected.
However, I am very pleased to note the new administration of Bognor Regis Town Council is looking to work very positively with Arun District Council to see whether a supported two-hour free-parking regime can be introduced to Bognor Regis car parks.
I am committed to doing everything I reasonably can to make this happen.
I trust this provides a more accurate and balanced picture of CPE and parking in Bognor Regis.
Cabinet member for the environment
Arun District Council, Littlehampton