Compromise over Littlehampton parking proposals

Littlehampton's West Green car park ENGSUS00120130213090141
Littlehampton's West Green car park ENGSUS00120130213090141

COUNCILLORS have reached a ‘compromise’ over increased car parking charges in Littlehampton with proposals for severe rises of around 233 per cent set to be rejected.

An Arun District Council working group has recommended more modest increases for the town’s seasonal car parks, rejecting higher rises sent out for consultation by cabinet members.

Around 60 objections were lodged against the initial proposals by residents, councillors and businesses.

Cabinet member for leisure and amenities Paul Dendle said he expected the working group’s recommendations to be supported when they went back before cabinet.

He said: “I was pleased that we came to a good compromise.

“It was a good exercise in democracy.”

The proposals hit the headlines in November, with the worst rises resulting in more than two hours’ parking in Banjo Road in July and August costing £10, compared to the current charge of £3 for up to four hours. This represented a rise of 233 per cent.

The working group said the current charging structure at Banjo Road should remain, with the price for more than four hours’ parking to be increased to £7 from £6.

The planned £10 charge at East Green, Sea Road, The Wall and West Beach in July and August will be changed to £7 for more than two hours’ parking.

A maximum charge of £8 at West Green is recommended, £2 more than the proposals sent out for consultation.

A representation to Arun by Harbour Park noted an £8 maximum charge would be a ‘more palatable measure’.

In another consultation response, UKIP River ward councillor Colin Cates said: “It is obvious to anyone living in Littlehampton that parking is a daily nightmare. To drive people onto the streets through car park price hikes will only make matters worse.

“Please do not use one of our few sources of income as a cash cow.”

The proposals also attracted objections from Littlehampton Civic Society, Windmill Cinema, Littlehampton Town Council Kingston Parish Council and East Beach Residents Association.

Responses were received from several district councillors and four county councillors.

Dr James Walsh, Liberal Democrat deputy leader welcomed the changes.

He said: “It is very good news. The council has listened to the representations from the traders and the public and drastically revised the huge increases that were being proposed, to a more sensible level.

“Our principle concern was with the huge hike in all-day charges up to £10 and the fact they have been reduced is good – but in Littlehampton there is still concern about the amount of all-day parking around the town centre which impacts adversely on residents.

“That is being addressed separately.”

The final decision was supposed to rest with Mr Dendle, as the relevant cabinet member. But following concerns from backbenchers, he decided to consult with the environmental services and community development working group.

The new recommendations will go back to the cabinet for approval.