Horsham District Council is soon to impose a new strategy to recover the costs of maintaining rural car parks.
Despite constant lobbying by groups that know better, particularly from the villages within which these car parks are sited, the district council is determined to go ahead with a policy that is fundamentally flawed.
It is understandable that in these straitened times, when local authorities are being squeezed on funding by government, that new ways need to be found to plug funding gaps within the District, but this is not the way to do it.
Whilst it is an admirable thought that people could or should walk or cycle to their village shops, the average resident will inevitably use a car and the car park therefore becomes the focal point of the village. The car park is the necessary vital link between the village shop and its customer.
Remove or weaken that link and the chain will break!
By imposing a charge per hour on visitors, or on those not possessing an annual permit or disc, will deter those visitors. Mark my words; that will happen.
It is not the charge so much as the inconvenience posed by this strategy that is wrong.
The majority of visitors to Lower Street in Pulborough, and I would expect the same applies to the other villages, will come in for a loaf of bread, a bunch of flowers, a newspaper, a bottle of wine, a dozen sausages, and many other such things; a process that will take half an hour to an hour to complete.
That first hour should be free and will keep the village shops alive! I would urge the district council to look again at its strategy, ignore the bean counters for once, listen to their villagers and apply some common sense.
Pulborough Parish Council, Lower Street, Pulborough
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