Horsham parking charges - ‘poor econimics’

PARKING charges up again. Oh what a mess we have!

As a result of some financial shortfalls elsewhere coupled with their vision of parking fees as a handy cash cow, our esteemed council representatives have seen fit to announce yet more draconian parking charge increases to dump on the motorists wishing to spend time in Horsham.

This is patently poor economics in the widest sense as it will deter visitors, both local and from further afield, who see unreasonable cost increases to their visit both short and long term.

Not that long ago the council was adamant, and proudly stating, that support for the town’s shops was a high priority and that parking charges would reflect the desire to attract visitors to Horsham.

Unfortunately, key decision makers on the council and indeed the ruling party give a lie to that principle.

I have often felt that so many of the representatives in key positions on our district council and the ruling party do not truly represent the interests of the town.

For too long, and I do believe that it is an unfortunate reflection of our democratic process, policies which disproportionately affect the town of Horsham are directed by, influenced by and eventually decided by those who, frankly, don’t really have a care for what it means to the town.

The increase in parking charges is a perfect case in point.

The responsible councillors from Chanctonbury, Itchingfield or Storrington (just examples) are happy to see their rural idyll protected but what do they care if they live in one of our admittedly attractive rural areas if parking in the principal town in the region is made prohibitively expensive and deters the shopping visitor?

What do they care if retailers – particularly the independent ones – suffer because they have made parking so expensive that shoppers go elsewhere? Their own little rural world remains intact!

So what of our wonderful park and ride? Horsham residents were generally pretty unimpressed when it was promulgated and they remain unimpressed with its continued existence.

That it should reside next to a recycling area is probably a subtle inference too far for many but seems singularly appropriate to me.

Recycle it into something that’s useful! Or at least put the blame on the unfortunate bus companies which will now face the wrath of users when the ticket prices inevitably rise.

If you are fortunate to travel abroad and use the car parks provided at our airports, it won’t have escaped your attention that charges for using the car parks are both prohibitive and ever increasing. It is solely a case of the car park providers recognising that they have a captive market and that they have the ability basically to charge whatever they like irrespective of what it costs to provide the service.

They, like our council, would find great difficulty in justifying that costs have increased by substantially more than published inflation rates. I struggle to understand the justification for cost increases at Denne Road, Horsham, for example – it’s ludicrous.

Our council clearly believes, just like the airport operators, that ripping off the car park users is a perfect business model but they overlook the subtle difference – shoppers have a choice which airport parkers don’t.

If Horsham becomes too costly to visit, shoppers will vote with their feet (or tyres) and go elsewhere, causing serious problems for the retail operations in the town.

So think again, rural ostriches, before you irreversibly damage our town with your inappropriate decisions.

IAN JAGGARD

Ghyll Crescent, Horsham