Councillors rally to help man with cystic fibrosis find parking space

Jonathan King, of Horsham, has cystic fibrosis and was worried about the loss of his priority parking spot during the development of Piries Place
Jonathan King, of Horsham, has cystic fibrosis and was worried about the loss of his priority parking spot during the development of Piries Place

A man with cystic fibrosis has praised Horsham District Council’s swift action after he raised concerns about the loss of a parking space.

Jonathan King, 36, attended a meeting of the planning committee on Tuesday (July 3) where an application was being discussed to place temporary welfare/management offices on the corner of Piries Place and Park Place during the demolition and rebuilding of the car park.

This comes as £35m is being invested in Piries Place to create a new cinema, hotel, restaurant and retail units.

Mr King, of Parkway House, who also has diabetes, told the meeting that the placement of the offices would mean he would lose access to his parking space.

He said: “When my chest is bad, I’m very limited in my mobility. I’ve got a private parking spot, which I’ve had to lose because of this.

“The council have only offered for me to pay for either a resident’s permit, which is a no go because there are none in the area, or to pay for a parking permit to park in Swan Walk car park, which is also a no go.”

While having no objection to the building of the offices, councillors were concerned that more had not been done to help Mr King.

Toni Bradnum (Con, Nuthurst) said: “We should have already made arrangements, I should have thought, for residents to be inconvenienced as little as possible.

“They are going to be inconvenienced, clearly, but when there is a special case we need to take account of that. So maybe the county authority could find a little spot.”

David Skipp (Lib Dem, Horsham Park) added: “To put someone in Swan Walk is not what I would consider satisfactory.

“I think that in this particular incidence every effort should be made to ensure that there is a parking space for him nearby.

“And if there can’t be then we should at least be told, because we pride ourselves on looking after our residents and this is one instance where I think the public would want to know that we’re doing that.”

Chairman Karen Burgess (Con, Holbrook East) was called on to take the matter straight to the chief executive.

They all proved to be as good as their word, and Mr King said he received a call the following morning from the parking services manager who had found him a parking space in nearby Denne Road.

When asked what he thought of the council’s speedy response, Mr King said: “I was very, very pleased and impressed. It was something I was hoping for but was slightly apprehensive.

“To be honest, it’s given me good faith in them.

“It’s nice to see that when they hear the problems, and actually hear them first-hand, how they are actually able to rally around and be supportive when it’s needed.”

Permission for the temporary offices was granted. They will be in place until August 2019 when the car park works are due to be completed.