Horsham District Council leader Ray Dawe misses the point about car parking charges. For many years, people have been avoiding using the HDC town car parks and saving their errands for one trip, only going in when they absolutely need to – this costs HDC in lost income.
Lowering charges could lead to increased income from a higher number of visits. HDC should have the statistical information to be able to evaluate this when they set the charges.
Furthermore, the evening charge may seem trivial to him, but it gives the impression of money-grabbing and its impact on the evening trade is huge.
One family recently returned from an evening stroll in the park to find they had a parking ticket. The driver looked at the noticeboards in utter disbelief as he had not expected to have to pay at that time of day.
The other aspects that Mr Dawe overlooks are the consequential costs of these charges. Our town streets are packed with cars avoiding our car parks or trying to find spaces near the stations. Roads such as Rook Way are so blocked with cars that an ambulance cannot reach a patient, and there would not be enough room for a fire engine.
This costs us all time and money in working with WSCC to find solutions to the problems caused. In addition, we have the nuisance factor of noise and rubbish where people park in side streets so that for example, they can use the skate park or visit the Pavilions.
This costs HDC in enforcement and officer time, and costs Sussex Police with monitoring the situation. Town councillors receive a steady flow of complaints about these issues.
And finally, it costs us all as a community for our economy and our health and well-being. If we are to support our local traders, improve our community links and reduce isolation and ill-health, we need to encourage our residents into our towns to socialise and to become regular customers of our businesses.
(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Horsham Park ward, North Street, Horsham