LETTER: Say ‘no’ to parking charges

Parking charges were again discussed at the full council meeting of Steyning Parish Council (SPC) on Monday, January 16.

After the recent demonstration in the town against these charges, (reported in the Herald, December 22), SPC gave an update. Councillors Northam, Bowell and Muncey met with Horsham District Council (HDC) seeking a resolution to the problem but were ‘firmly rebuffed’. The impression given was that only Steyning had raised any objections.

It would appear, however, that there were certainly objections lodged from other parish councils in our area. SPC, in co-operation with Steyning Chamber of Commerce, and on behalf of residents, will seek to unite with all five parish councils who are under this threat.

A united approach may convince HDC that there are fairer and more democratic ways of resolving this impasse. HDC are ignoring the opinions of rural communities and making a mockery of their consultation procedures. They seem to think that it is sufficient for the Horsham Cabinet to impose these measures underpinning the austerity measures of central government. HDC have rejected some perfectly sound alternatives suggested by SPC and totally ignored the views of more than 1,200 Steyning residents. If HDC does not take consultation seriously then the Chamber of Commerce are prepared to take it to appeal, and if necessary, a Judicial Review. Have Horsham produced a business plan explaining its thinking and also a careful assessment of the social and economic effects on the parishes concerned?

Have they fully assessed the options SPC offered?

Have they considered the effect on the local schools, the health centre, Croft Meadow nursing home, the Steyning Centre, and the farmers’ market?

Charges will have a detrimental affect on all those using these three vital car parks. Long-term annual permit passes (costing £130) will hit workers and visitors to these locations hardest, especially when there are only 38 of them in total.

The current system works perfectly well, it is not abused and there is no need to change it. SPC have offered a fully costed alternative.

Get behind SPC and the Chamber of Commerce and see off Horsham’s ill-thought-out scheme which has clearly no benefit to anyone, NOT least HDC.

Mike Kelly

Kings Stone Avenue

Steyning

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