New charges at council-run car parks across the Horsham district are set to be introduced next week.
Visitors to the car parks, including those in Roffey, Billingshurst, Pulborough, Storrington, Henfield, and Steyning, will have to pay to park from Monday April 3.
Pay and display machines are being installed with visitors paying 75p for the first hour and £1.50 for a maximum stay of either two, three, or four hours from Monday to Saturday between 9am and 6pm.
Or an annual parking disk can be bought from Horsham District Council for £12, and £6 for each additional disc up to a maximum of four per household.
HDC is also offering a free second disc for those who purchase a parking disc before April 30.
Last week the council said that more than 18,000 users had already signed up.
The changes have proved highly controversial, particularly in Steyning, while a ‘Support our Shops’ campaign has been launched in Pulborough this week.
It has been organised by Jane Mote, who is standing as the Labour Party’s Pulborough candidate for May’s county council election, and is aimed at trying to help businesses cope with the potential loss of trade as a result of the new charges.
Labour members will be pushing for a review of the charges to at least make the first hour free, but in the meantime they are asking people to make a special effort to support the shops, with many also facing business rate rises.
Ms Mote said: “Pulborough’s handful of shops are vital to creating a sense of community and purpose to Lower Street but their finances are fragile – this extra pressure could force them to rethink.”
Earlier this month Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley), cabinet member for the local economy, said: “It’s good to see that so many of our residents have signed up and have got their free second disc before the new annual parking system launches on Monday 3 April.
“We are expecting a further late burst of disc purchases from those regular car park users not yet signed up, and to help them, we have extended the benefit of a free second disc offer until 30 April.”
HDC has argued it had to find ways to cover the car parks’ annual £315,000 running cost.
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Car parks affected are:
Billingshurst Library Car Park, Billingshurst Six Bells, Henfield Library Car Park, Henfield Coopers Way, Roffey Godwin Way, Pulborough Lower Street, Steyning High Street, Steyning Newmans Gardens, Steyning Fletchers Croft, Storrington Monastery Lane, Storrington Library Car Park, Storrington Mill Lane.
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