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FREE PARKING SCHEME FOR BOGNOR WILL CONTINUE BUT WILL COST US THE SAME AS LITTLEHAMPTON, YET PROVIDE LESS THAN HALF THE VALUE

When the Bognor Regis free parking scheme was set up in December 2011, the promoters of the scheme, being Bognor Regis Civic Society, Chamber of Commerce, FSB, TBI and the Town Council were extremely disappointed that Arun District Council gave Bognor Regis an extremely bad deal.

This allowed only 66 ground level spaces, being just one car park, in Lyon Street, as opposed to the 382 spaces in 3 ground level car parks in Littlehampton.  Arun claimed that spaces allocated in the Fitzleet multi-storey compensated for this and would not accept that these were inferior because many people are reluctant to use that building.  Fitzleet is priced at 15p per hour, ground level car parks at 70p per hour but this was not accepted as being indicative of the comparative desirability of these spaces.

The promoters accepted this poor deal at the time in order to prevent delay and get the scheme started, but on a promise from Arun to review the scheme in May 2012 with a view to extending its scope.  This review did not happen.

Recent talks between Arun and the promoters on continuing the scheme for a further year began with Arun's outright refusal to extend its scope to the Regis Centre and Hothamton car parks. In addition Arun demanded confirmation that they would receive the same money, yet refused to provide figures to show whether their income has gained or lost as a result of the scheme.

Bognor Regis Traders and the Town Council have indicated that they are prepared to provide the necessary funds to allow the scheme to continue for a further year. However, the promoters are extremely dissatisfied with the poor deal that Bognor Regis receives, which is valued at £123.90 per hour, as compared with Littlehampton at £267.40 per hour - yet Arun demands the same price from each of them.  They will be discussing the matter further with Arun.

September 2012

Update 19th October 2013.  At Arun District Council's Bognor Regis Regeneration Sub-Committee on 7th August, Arun's Leader Cllr. Mrs. Gillian Brown surprised everybody with the announcement that Arun would agree to expand the current free parking scheme to the Hothamton car park.

While this was very welcome, there had been no consultation and it caused a bit of consternation.  What was to happen to the existing discs which covered only the Lyon Street and Fitzleet multi-storey and how was the new extension to the scheme to be included?  A new shoppers' guide was about to go to print and could it be amended in time?  And in any case, was this intended to be long or short term, in view of the still current regeneration proposals which covered this car park ‒ and did this mean any amendments might be redundant again soon?  Nobody was complaining about the extra free car parking, but the high-handed consult-nobody attitude of Arun irritated many.

The Town Council worked hard to resolve all these issues, and the end result is that the existing discs, which have no expiry date, will continue to be valid for Lyon Street and Fitzleet multi-storey.  New and different discs will be on sale from 1st December which will cover all three car parks ‒ but these discs will last for 1 year only.  And they can be used at Hothamton from 1st January 2014. And, luckily, the shoppers' guide was able to be amended to include the new information.

This changes the figures somewhat.  Hothamton has 209 ground level spaces, which means Bognor Regis now has a total of 275 ground level compared with Littlehampton's 382. And taking into account the multi-storey's 364 spaces, Bognor's free parking is now valued at a more respectable £270.20.

All that is needed now to create a proper free parking scheme, say Bognor Regis Civic Society, the Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Town Centre Traders and FSB, is the inclusion of the Regis Centre car park and some effective marketing.

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