MAJOR issues have been raised by the borough council leader over Worthing’s controlled parking zone (CPZ), which he feared could result in a greater number of central shop closures.
Conservative councillor Paul Yallop expressed his shock after discovering the area produced a total of £1,5million a year in on-street parking revenue for West Sussex County Council.
Incredibly, it has emerged this figure amounts to more than that gained from the five other districts put together.
Mr Yallop believed a combination of the cost of parking, the extent of the town’s CPZ and its relatively large numbers of parking wardens contributed to other centres with cheaper parking faring better economically. The figures gained from motorists in Worthing contrasted sharply with those from around the county. Mid Sussex generated just £146,000 in parking fees, with other areas including Crawley and Horsham yielding £150,000 and £213,000 respectively from on-street parking charges.
In a letter to the county local committee chairman Bob Smytherman, who has been tasked with monitoring CPZ issues, Mr Yallop raised the fact parking charges had been persistently highlighted by shoppers as affecting their decisions on whether to visit the town.
The council leader called on the county to halve the number of parking wardens working within central Worthing, which presently stands at 19.
Mr Yallop said: “I am dismayed to learn of the massive disparity in on-street parking charges across West Sussex towns. The figures are shocking.
“During the worst high street downturn in memory, charges to Worthing motorists appear to have increased by around 50 per cent. Worse still, the disparity between schemes across the county puts Worthing’s retailers at a massive disadvantage.”
He added another key area of concern over the fact it was unclear whether the huge income gained from the CPZ was in fact being re-invested in Worthing, as had been expected to be the case.
In response, Mr Smytherman said he shared the borough leader’s concern on whether Worthing should be seeing more of a return on the funds it is generating.
“The money from Worthing car parking in the CPZ is meant to be ring-fenced with left-over money from it for the town, but this is one of the things I am going to clarify in a meeting with the county next month.”
The issue of the CPZ has remained highly contentious since its expansion in East Worthing.
This resulted in Ham Road residents on the boundary of the CPZ zone venting their frustration at being unable to park near their properties,
They have labelled the situation a safety hazard in having to leave their vehicles some distance away.