A £7.25 million budget to replace a multi-storey car park in Horsham town centre has been agreed.
Horsham District Council is proposing to demolish the 330-space Piries Place Car Park, and built a replacement of between 443 and 560 spaces, depending on the final design.
The project is being timed to coincide with the redevelopment of Piries Place Shopping Centre, which is set to see a new hotel, Everyman cinema, and restaurants built by the start of 2019.
A capital budget of up to £7.25m was approved by HDC’s Cabinet last Thursday (September 21).
Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), deputy leader and cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “I think this is a car park that should be put out of its misery and replaced with a much more 21st century car park.”
He added: “I always thought it’s a bit of a cheek for charging them to use it. We should be giving them a reward for using it.”
Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley), cabinet member for the local economy, explained that studies showed spare parking capacity in Horsham would be used up by 2023, with an extra 380 spaces required by 2031.
He argued the current car park was not fit for purpose, as many of the spaces were too narrow.
Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of the council, said any redevelopment needed to ‘fit into the townscape of Piries Place’.
Detailed designs are now set to be drawn up by officers so a planning application can be submitted. The council would then need to appoint a contractor for the demolition and building work.
Afterwards Mr Lindsay said: “Parking demand in the town centre is set to grow in the coming years and this redevelopment will be key to accommodating this growth.
“Improving the motorist experience was at the centre of the decision to refurbish the existing car park. The new car park will also improve access to the town centre by providing additional disability bays and parent and child bays.
“It is also intended to include a Changing Places facility within the car park and consideration will be given to introducing electric parking points recognising the trend towards electric vehicles.”
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