Horsham District Council has been accused of being ‘shortsighted’ as people start to notice the impact of the increased parking charges in Horsham town centre.
The flat rate early evening parking charge from 6pm to 8pm in Denne Road, Piries Place and the council offices car parks and increased daytime charges were introduced earlier this month and last week confusion at the parking ticket machine caused fury with theatregoers.
After visiting the Capitol last week Karen Haywards of Itchingfield said: “We could purchase a ticket up to 1800hrs and then a further ticket from 1800hrs to 2000hrs, thus making it impossible to purchase a valid parking ticket to cover our visit to the cinema from 5.30pm until approximately 7.30pm.
“We were not alone in the utter confusion that ensued as other people also tried to make sense of the nonsensical, some people went and parked elsewhere, we purchased two tickets at £1.10 each but only valid until 6pm in the hope that this would cover our stay if confronted by parking enforcement agents.
“It spoilt our evening as we thought we might incur a parking fine and we rushed off home at 7.30pm rather than stay in town for a meal and a drink.”
The council has since said it will make the signs clearer so people can work out how much their parking should be, but others have said the parking charges are deterring them from visiting the town.
Sarah Briffett of North Heath Lane, Horsham said: “Unfortunately, today, I had to make two car journeys into the town centre, and found that rather than pay for parking for up to one hour, I was forced to pay for two sessions for up to two hours at a cost of £2.40 per session - outlay £4.80.’’
She later visited The Capitol and paid the new £1 flat rate for 6pm to 8pm spending a total of £5.80 in one day.
She added: “Horsham is dying a slow death. Please, Horsham District Council, it is time to wake up and realise that greed is not the way forward.”
People commenting on the County Times website have similar views.
Kobanks36 said: “Honestly this council are so shortsighted in everything. As for parking yes I use Sainsbury’s but once a week for shopping.
“I don’t go around the other shops for the sheer fact that I cannot stand clock watching and it is not a relaxing experience.
“As for charging early evening for parking, I would rather eat in other areas of West Sussex with free parking. Horsham council take note you are driving people out of a centre that is a very excellent town.”
Causeway Cat said: “The Marina in Brighton for example has free parking and you have access to a cinema, a gym, the Bowlplex, restaurants and supermarkets. People will find better value elsewhere.”
A spokesman from Horsham District Council said: “HDC is sorry to hear that some customers are experiencing problems with the new evening tariff in the North Street car park in Horsham.
“We have checked the ticket machines and confirmed that they are working correctly and issuing tickets for the correct length of stay.
“It may be that there is some confusion over how the tariff works. If, for example, someone parks at 5.30pm, the tariff will be £1.10 for the remaining period until 6pm and £1 from 6pm to 8pm giving a total of £2.10. We are arranging for additional information to be provided at the ticket machines to make this clearer.”