Changes to parking charges at country park

Parking along Cripplegate Lane in Southwater. People have been parking along the road as they do not want to pay the �1.50 parking charges for the Country Park. Pic Steve Robards  SR1623895 SUS-160823-124739001
Parking along Cripplegate Lane in Southwater. People have been parking along the road as they do not want to pay the �1.50 parking charges for the Country Park. Pic Steve Robards SR1623895 SUS-160823-124739001

Changes have been made to car parking charges at Southwater Country Park in a bid to tackle parking chaos over the summer.

Last year Horsham District Council introduced charges at its car parks serving the popular site, with motorists paying £1.50 to park all day.

Following consultations with residents the council has now revised the charges and a new 50p charge for stays of up to an hour will be in place over the summer months.

The changes will also see the daily rate increase to £3.00 while the cost will be dropped altogether during the winter with visitors free to park on weekdays between November and March.

The country park saw a record number of visitors come through its gates in 2016 following the creation of the Dinosaur Island adventure play area.

The increase in visitors and new charges led to dozens of cars being parked along roads surrounding the site.

Residents expressed their outrage as cars blocked access for vehicles and pedestrians, forcing crisis talks between the district council and the parish council.

HDC said the new charges plus the opening of an overflow car park would help combat the issue as it prepares for another busy summer.

A spokesman said: “Following the outstanding success of the council’s flagship Dinosaur Adventure play area, Southwater Country Park received record visitor numbers during 2016.

“High visitor numbers are expected to continue and to accommodate the additional visitors the council has increased parking capacity with an overflow car park in addition to the Worthing Road car park.

“During the quieter winter period, weekdays from November through to the end of March, parking will now be free at the country park to encourage visitors to come and use the facilities out of season.

“It is expected that the new charges will attract more visitors at quieter times, while at busy times there will be more turnover of cars, freeing up more parking space.”

West Sussex County Council has also introduced parking restrictions for those attempting to park in roads around the country park.

The parking charges will be in place from 10am to 6pm.

On winter weekends the charges will run until 4pm.

Money raised through parking charges will go towards the upkeep of the country park.

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