Parking charges could be ‘kiss of death’ for Roffey shops

JPCT 18-04-12 Roffey. Fitzalan Road, parade of shops S12160927a - photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120120418114738
JPCT 18-04-12 Roffey. Fitzalan Road, parade of shops S12160927a - photo by Steve Cobb ENGSUS00120120418114738

Introducing new parking charges could be the ‘kiss of death’ for some of Roffey’s shops, one resident has warned.

Horsham District Council is proposing to bring in £12 a year discs for short stays, pay and display machines, and £130 a year season tickets from Monday to Saturday as it looks to cover the £315,000 annual cost of running many of its non-town centre car parks.

This includes Godwin Way Car Park, which is currently free with a maximum 24-hour stay.

HDC was given approval to introduce the charges by West Sussex County Council’s North Horsham County Local Committee last Monday (November 28) subject to 21 days of consultation.

This would also be on the proviso that any displacement to nearby residential roads is monitored and the district council would pay for the cost of any future Traffic Regulation Orders to deal with such problems.

But at the meeting Roger Wilton, chair of North Horsham Parish Council, explained that they were keen to take on the car park, but a number of issues such as drainage had not been fully resolved and they had written to HDC to request more information.

He added: “We were not content with the document and some of the comments particularly about the effects of putting car parking charges there would have on the local area.

“I think it would be a big mistake.”

The parish council rents out the nearby Roffey Millennium Hall to a number of groups, while residents using the shops in Fitzalan Road also use the Godwin Way Car Park.

Natalie Brahma-Pearl, director of community services at HDC, told the committee they had written to the parish council in June to advise them that the review of car park charges was taking place, had met them twice, while parish councillors had voted not to take on the car park in September.

But Mr Wilton contradicted this explaining he had a record of only one meeting, while the parish council had voted to take a listening position to await further detail on what charges HDC was going to introduce.

He added: “I’m quite embarrassed to say I do not think this report is anywhere near adequate for that particular car park.”

Derek Castle, a Mannings Heath resident, added: “They [charges] will impact and condemn some of those businesses. I really do think that it would be the kiss of death.”

The CLCs debate centred on county council responsibilities such as managing waiting restrictions and concerns shoppers might park in residential roads instead of paying to park.

Amanda Jupp (Con, Billingshurst) described being ‘disappointed’ no impact study had been carried out as it was a ‘very difficult little area’.

Meanwhile Liz Kitchen (Con, Warnham and Rusper) said: “I think we are in danger of getting into an argument that’s got nothing to do with us.”

David Sheldon (Ind, Horsham Tanbridge and Broadbridge Heath) added: “We are seriously in danger of straying into a dispute between HDC and North Horsham Parish Council.”

At the end of the debate, Gordon Lindsay, HDC’s cabinet member for the local economy, gave an undertaking to meet again with the parish council to discuss the car park at Godwin Way.

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