LETTER: Economies are highly fragile

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Horsham District Council’s new policy of charging for short-term car parking in the rural car parks seems most regressive and regrettable.

It will probably cause much ongoing damage to the very same local businesses and community organisations that it always claims to champion and must inevitably have many negative repercussions for many years to come.

Many village car parks are already inadequate for the volume of modern traffic and need expansion, not restriction - leading only to widespread street parking and traffic congestion problems. The just-rescinded scheme of free disc-display parking for the first two hours, followed by voucher charge for subsequent stay is an excellent and equitable workable compromise between user and local taxpayer and really should have been left well alone.

Most of the Horsham District satellite village economies are highly fragile. Many are also reeling from the huge strain and ill-effects of trying to cope with the massive NPPF built development boom (with lack of infrastructure investment) that HM Govt/ the Planning Inspectorate/ Horsham DC have imposed on them. The last thing they now need is to be emasculated and strait-jacketed by yet more cuts and restrictions on their local operations. This was why it was desirable to allow free short-term vehicle parking in these locations.

Clearly this move is being driven by the overarching national desire or need to find more financial ‘savings’ everywhere and intensified by ignoring suggestions made by Billingshurst PC to ameliorate the charge. But, instead of spoiling what works well, why not consider alternative cost-reduction measures of greater merit? One idea that just shouts out to be urgently adopted on both financial and environmental grounds is to rationalise the present chaotic mixed kerbside refuse bin collection system by reducing its complexity and effort.

As a nation and district we still produce and commit to landfill excessive, unsustainable volumes of waste, so reduction in that by whatever means possible should surely be secured. By encouraging (jointly through Government and LGA support, etc) the commercial recycling market to expand to accept the remaining residual waste bin items so that they can be contained in the more capacious blue recyclable lidded bins, the small ‘mixed waste’ green kerbside bin (an awkward unstable one) could be withdrawn. Compared to the car park charges, this would presumably prove equally financially worthwhile and operationally more welcome.

PA Rippingham

Adversane Lane, Adversane

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