New charges proposed for rural car parks

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New charges are set to be introduced to rural car parks in Steyning and Storrington.

Councillors are due to meet next week to discuss proposals to bring in new charging structures in both areas as well as other car parks across the Horsham district.

The changes would replace different terms and conditions in village car parks where currently some are free and unlimited and others use discs and vouchers for stays of up to a certain number of hours.

If approved the proposals would see the introduction of a rural parking permit scheme at a cost of £12 a year for the first permit and £6 a year for subsequent permits registered at the same address. Horsham District Council says that for many regular users this will be more convenient than the current parking disc system and will enable users to use their permit in any of the council’s rural car parks across the whole district.

Regular all day long-term users of specific car parks will be able to purchase an annual season ticket at a standardised cost of £130 a year. This rate will be available in Billingshurst, Henfield, Pulborough, Steyning, Storrington, Cowfold, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Godwin Way, North Horsham car parks.

Additionally, for infrequent users who do not wish to purchase permits or season tickets, Pay and Display machines in specific car parks in all these areas.

The council says that currently rural car parks are subsidised by the council tax payer - even by the ten per cent of households who don’t own a car - by approximately £315,000 per annum. Over the past ten years £314,000 has been spent on major repairs, like resurfacing. It is expected that some £500,000 will have to be spent over the next ten years.

A Horsham District Council Cabinet meeting on November 24 is set to discuss the proposals and, if approved, the new charging structures will begin in April 2017.

Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst), said: “The proposed new car parking charges are tailored to users’ needs and represent outstanding value for money, whilst creating a fairer, level playing field across the whole of the district which currently operates different charging schemes for different car parks.

“The income will enable us to improve car park maintenance (eg relining of parking bays) and provide improved enforcement to ensure that the use of busy car parks are optimised to the benefit of the users of the town/village facilities users.

“Furthermore the complete removal of the Government grant (previously it was one of our main income sources) has placed the council under significant financial pressure and we have had to review our charging schemes. Despite this we believe our parking charges are keenly priced in order to support the local economy.”

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