A prominent Worthing businessman has said he fears potential changes to parking in the town centre could ‘hit Worthing like a brick’.
West Sussex County Council is undertaking a review to ‘safeguard residents’ parking needs’ in the town centre, which Worthing Hospitality Federation chairman Andy Sparsis said could include scrapping free on-street parking in the evening for visitors.
If an evening ban was enacted, he said, it could combine with sharp increases to outdoor seating licence fees to have a crippling effect on local traders.
“It will finish off local businesses in the town centre,” said Mr Sparsis, who owns three restaurants in the town.
“West Sussex County Council are there to protect businesses, but have decided they could aggressively change the parking strategy.
“What we have got to look forward to is extreme taxes on tables, chairs and advertising boards and higher priced parking. The parking is going to hit Worthing like a brick.”
The county council has also increased licence fees for outdoor seating by 260 per cent, which Mr Sparsis warned could be the ‘last straw’ for some traders.
He said when businesses feel unsupported, it damages the town and makes no-one want to invest.
Read more about potentially damaging changes hitting Worthing’s traders here:
A spokesman for the county council confirmed an audit was underway, to include a review of on-street parking to safeguard residents’ parking and support the economy.
It would also look at encouraging more sustainable school travel options and improvements for cycling infrastructure.
“Business representatives, residents groups and service operators took part in an initial stakeholder meeting held last year,” said the spokesman.
“Following a meeting with the Worthing Town Centre Initiative, further engagement seminars are planned this autumn for business organisations, transport operators and other stakeholders.
“The review is currently in its early stages. There are no firm proposals and absolutely no decisions have been made. As proposals are developed there will be full public engagement to ensure everyone can get involved and have their say.”
An attendance list from the ‘initial stakeholder meeting’ showed of 18 attendees, 15 worked for either the county or borough council, two from cycle groups and one taxi association.