WORTHING’S multi-storey car parks have been the source of much contention for a number of years.
However, after Worthing Borough Council regained control of the car parks from NCP early last year changes were made to encourage more people to use the facilities.
As of April last year a £1-an-hour tariff was introduced in a bid to entice more people into the town centre and, once there, encourage them to stay for longer.
Figures provided by the council show the number of people that used the multi-storeys between April and December last year increased by 14.9 per cent compared with the same period in 2013.
In total, 616,440 cars used the facilities in that period last year compared with 536,651 in the same period in 2013.
The most successful months, in terms of percentage increase, were May, June and December. In May 2014, 62,160 cars used the car parks compared with 48,485 the previous year, an increase of 28.2 per cent; June 2014 saw usage jump up to 67,545 from 52,530 the previous June – an increase of 28.6 per cent and December experienced a 23.4 per cent increase on the previous year – with 94,007 cars using the car parks compared with 76,173.
However, even with the increased footfall, each of the town’s four main multi-storey car parks – High Street, Buckingham, Grafton and Teville Gate – failed to bring in as much money between April and December 2014 as in the same period the previous year.
High Street car park experienced an overall takings percentage decrease of 4.92 per cent – dropping from £608,492 to £578,542.
Grafton saw takings fall from £557,624 to £483,867 – a drop of 13.23 per cent. Buckingham fell from £232,082 to £212,838 – a decrease of 8.29 per cent and Teville Gate fell from £42,544 in 2013 £39,539 in 2014 – a drop of 7.06 per cent.
In total, the car parks’ combined revenue between April and December 2014 fell by 8.74 percent compared with the same period in 2013 – from £1,440,742 to £1,314,786.
Despite this, the council is receiving more money than it would have done under NCP.
Clive Roberts, Worthing Borough Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “People used it, so they haven’t lost it.
“It’s going great and we hope to continue it. It’s good news for the town because it’s increased the footfall. I can’t understand how NCP got it so wrong.
“There’s more money coming in this year than NCP would have given us. We need to make sure we keep money tucked away for maintenance. I won’t allow them to fall into disrepair. I’m not going back to that, that’s for sure.”
Mr Roberts said he could not see an end to the £1-an-hour tariff.
Interim head of parking Dominic O’Brien said: “No doubt we are very excited and pleased to see the increased use of the town centre car parks since the councils took back the service last year. The continuation of the very favourable rates being offered brings benefits to Worthing’s residents, visitors and businesses.”