Town is ‘fighting for survival’

Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo) signed copies of her new book at Steyning Bookshop. Pictured here with Katie Watts and her daughter Imogen (from Steyning) and far right bookshop owner Sara Bowers. Pic steve robards SR1522264 SUS-150918-171431001

Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo) signed copies of her new book at Steyning Bookshop. Pictured here with Katie Watts and her daughter Imogen (from Steyning) and far right bookshop owner Sara Bowers. Pic steve robards SR1522264 SUS-150918-171431001

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Steyning is ‘fighting for survival’, a businesswoman believes.

Horsham District Council cabinet members supported in-principle plans to introduce charges to free rural car parks, subject to consultation.

The move comes in the same week West Sussex County Council announced the subsidised Compass 108 bus service, running between Shoreham, Steyning and Horsham, could be axed.

Sara Bowers, who runs the Steyning Bookshop, said the move could compound the impact the town could experience from parking charges.

She said: “Everything like that is all just one more nail in the coffin of rural market towns. You need access by car and bus and everything has got to be easy for people or they won’t want to shop here and they can go somewhere where it is easier. We are under threat in all directions.”

Mrs Bowers said the Steyning and District Business Chamber had worked tirelessly to boost tourism and visitor numbers, with the town becoming a destination for people travelling from the coastal strip. But she warned visitors could be deterred if they struggled to travel there. She added: “We are still desperate about the car parking issues. We are fighting for the very survival of the town.”

The number 108 service is one of ten routes countywide which could be stopped, reduced, rerouted or extended.

County council cabinet member for highways and transport Bob Lanzer urged residents to fill in a survey to add their thoughts.

He said the results would be used to determine any potential measures.

“If you use any of these services and have something to tell us, please take part in the survey,” he said.

To take part, visit https://haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/highways-and-transport/bussurvey

Alternatively, call 033022 25442 or email buses@westsussex.gov.uk

The closing date for responses is Sunday, December 18. What do you think? Email your thoughts to news@shorehamherald.co.uk