Stop grandstanding over free parking

I WRITE further to your front page article regarding the Chamber of Commerce’s stance regarding free parking in Bognor Regis.

At Arun’s full council on November 9, there was unanimous support for the free parking initiative and all the hard work and efforts of the councillors and officers of the town council and Arun district.

The way this has been agreed is very positive for the economy of Bognor Regis and partnership working in general.

The fact that BRTC (Bognor Regis Town Council) has gone the extra mile and put up the £7,000 that the Chamber of Commerce or its members should have contributed, matched by Arun to ensure the success of the scheme, clearly demonstrates this.

Nick Stuart-Nicholson, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, bemoans the fact that we are not adding to this by supporting the free Saturday parking for three Saturdays leading up to Christmas.

Our reasons were simple, by having free Saturday parking at the same time as the launch month for the two-hour scheme was deemed to be confusing for shoppers and blurred the message that supported free parking was available for 365 days.

The Observer and Spirit FM have been signed up to promote the free parking initiative and a number of businesses are individually helping as well.

Contrast this with the efforts of the Chamber and the difference is stark.

They are not offering any money, and they are not positively engaging with us to make the two-hour free parking a success.

They have also made some provocative or ill-informed statements about me and Arun DC without even the courtesy of dialogue or offering a right of reply.

The term ‘grandstanding’ comes to mind all of which is a diversion from this very worthwhile scheme.

So, my challenge to the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce is simple.

Put your money where your mouth is and rather than stirring up childish dissent to the detriment of the town you purport to represent, engage with us and BRTC to make this scheme a success,

Paul Dendle

Cabinet member, Arun District Council