by Harbour Villages on 25 February, 2017
The District Council Cabinet approving the Evening Car Park charges for Northgate and New Park Road despite a Call in and a recommendation from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the charges were unfair and targeted Chichester meant it was a very sad day for local democracy. There can be no doubt based on the evidence of The Chichester Festival Theatre and the New Park Centre there will be detrimental effects. What became evident when the Cabinet approved the charges with no amendments that beneath all the rhetoric this was indeed a revenue raising scheme for £100,000 already written into the budget long before the consultation had even begun. The Cabinet by making this decision have put themselves above the elected body of Council and this has to be rectified.
Cabinet argued that maintenance of the car parks was high but the budget shows all car parks generate in round terms £4.3m net profit into the general fund and costs are £2.3m. Most the income comes from the 5 pay and display Chichester City Car parks (88%). The net income for New Park Road car park is around £139,000 per annum. (Expenditure is around £46,000, with gross income being approximately £185,000 per annum). For Northgate car park the net income is around £802,000 per annum. (Expenditure is around £136,000 and gross income is approximately £938,000 per annum). Rates are included in the figures. So to say this money is required for maintenance is simply not true. Cabinet also argued that “users pay” should apply to car parking. If this was a policy, then to be fair it must apply to all car parks. For example why do Chichester Car parks have Sunday parking charges whilst others in the District do not. The Grange car park Midhurst for example is very well used on Sundays has no charges. These car parking charges once again hit Chichester and it is now obvious that maximum revenue for minimum costs for changes to ticketing machines was the objective of Cabinet. We all know a trial period is a cop out and that there will be resistance to restoring the previous charges and by then the damage to particularly to the clubs operating at New Park Centre will be done.
A sad day for local democracy indeed I am sure you agree.Leave a comment