Worthing Borough Council has given its clearest indication yet that it intends to axe widely-criticised NCP car parking within the town centre.
With the present contract applying to the firm ending in 2014, the council has fielded consistent complaints from businesses, visitors and residents, who have hit out at parking costing £11 a day – more than double Chichester’s £4 long-stay daily parking rate.
Councillors expressed their frustration on the issue at an Adur and Worthing joint strategic committee last week.
After considering a series of different models of handling parking across the area, it was agreed in Worthing that present off-street arrangements are to be maintained, but to examine alternative contracts. Adur also looks set to maintain its control of tariffs for off-street parking, while maintaining its contract with West Sussex County Council for on street parking.
The committee rejected an option of extending the NCP’s contract by a further 10 years, which would have needed to have been authorised by the end of last month.
Highlighting parking prices as a particular concern, Worthing Borough leader Paul Yallop stated he had been inundated with feedback from residents.
He said: “There has been a lot of concern expressed on the parking in the area. The public in Worthing see it as a major issue, but we now have an opportunity to look at this. We have had a lack of control on the issue at borough level, with the county council handling parking, so it has been hard to have an influence because of the decisions of the past that have allowed parking costs to rise.”
The issue was first addressed in June 2011,whenworking groups from scrutiny committees on both Worthing and Adur councils began a three-phase examination of on and off-street parking across the whole area.
Within Worthing, there are four multi-storey car parks with a total of 1,766 spaces and 23 general car parks with an additional 1,132 spaces. According to the council’s budget report, it cost £30,000 to administer car parking management, which has generated a considerable income of £939,000.
From its studies, it concluded parking services should remain as a joint operation and agreements with West Sussex County Council over on-street parking should remain in place.
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