RESIDENTS and businesses are backing calls for Worthing Borough Council to take back parking control in the town.
As reported two weeks ago, councillors have discussed the possibility of taking back control of on and off-street parking, currently contracted to National Car Parks (NCP) until 2014.
Residents and business owners have since have spoken out about how lower parking tariffs would benefit the town.
Diane Ball, owner of the Sandwitch Bar in Rowlands Road, Worthing, and co-ordinator of Worthing West End Traders, said:
“Our local council should take back control and help their local businesses and the public.
“Lots of traders in the West End feel the parking is part of the problem with people not coming to Worthing to shop.”
Sharon Clarke, Worthing’s town centre manager, said cheaper parking has been proven to increase footfall in Worthing.
“People have said to us that they used to love to come to Worthing to do their shopping but they have said they just cannot afford the parking,” she said. “We have managed to arrange agreements with the council for using their civic centre car park on a Saturday, where we charge 50p for up to four hours, and last year it increased our footfall by 10.4 per cent.
“Cheaper parking in Worthing is something we have supported for a long time and we would welcome it back.
“We’d love to see car parking prices being competitive with the rest of Sussex.”
Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley, who is a Worthing resident himself, said he thinks it is right the council are considering taking back parking control.
“When the decision was made to contract the parking out many years ago, I thought at the time that the council had given away too much control, and the parking company did not necessarily make the right decisions,” he said. “I think people should be able to park close to the shops and the theatres in Worthing, and it is ludicrous, as with the Union Place car park, that people should be charged to park in a car park which is virtually empty.”
Sir Peter added: “I am sure the council will come to the right decision for what’s best for Worthing.”
For more residents’ opinion, see this week’s Herald (February 2).