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Parking deal call

A request has been made for free car parking in Bognor Regis to be made long-term.

 

Councillors have backed a call for the current one-year deal to be replaced by a scheme which lasts for several years.

 

Cllr Tony Dixon (I, Aldwick E) suggested the idea to provide a bigger boost to the town centre.

 

It was backed by the other members of Arun District Council’s Bognor Regis regeneration sub-committee meeting on Monday.

 

Cllr Dixon said:

 

“Free parking is a major asset for the town centre to my mind. It seems to draw people in.

 

“I wonder if there is an opportunity to make it a two-year deal, or even a three-year deal to give a bit of certainty.”

 

The free parking is negotiated between Arun District Council, which owns the three sites in the scheme, and the Bognor Regis business improvement district’s (BID) members.

 

Cllr Matt Stanley, the sub-committee chairman, said he believed parking was on the agenda for the next liaison meeting between Arun and Bognor Regis councils.

 

Cllr John Charles (C, Barnham) said he believed the need to discuss the free parking annually was legally required.

 

“That’s why we do it but I don’t know why that is the case,”

 

he said.

 

The two-hour free parking is some seven years old and covers Lyon Street, Fizleet and Hothamton car parks.

 

The scheme starts each January and requires motorists to buy a disc for £2 to benefit from the free parking for the next year.

 

Paul Wells, the BID’s former chairman, told the sub-committee:

 

“We have to negotiate for the parking every year.

 

“It’s always there, year after year. It would be lovely for the BID to have a three year plan in place.”

 

He said arrangements were being made to launch the 2020 disc next month. About 27,000 discs had been sold this year.

 

“The scheme brings a good number of people into the town. It is probably the best regeneration scheme that has been put in place.

 

“I know it was campaigned for a number of years by various bodies, including the civic society.

 

“It works. That is shown by the number of shops in London Road. We are due to get a new store (The Edinburgh Woollen Mill) opening in the former Store Twenty One soon.

 

“It is a small town centre but it is a vibrant one and it’s got a good range of shops. It’s not just because of free parking but it is part of the package.”

 

The work of Mr Wells in establishing the BID in the past year was praised by the sub-committee’s members.

 

Cllr Elaine Stainton (C, Felpham W) said:

 

“I think what Paul has done in Bognor Regis is amazing. He has taken the BID under his wing.”

 

Mr Wells was succeeded as the chairman by bookshop owner Jason Passingham last month.

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