Council gives its feedback on road space audit proposals

Leading Chichester District councillors have said there are no current plans to close car parks in Chichester city centre except Basin Road car park, which has been identified as part of the Southern Gateway project.

Their comments are part of a response to a major examination of road space demands in the city, led by West Sussex County Council.

At its meeting on Tuesday 7 November, Chichester District Council's Cabinet discussed its feedback to the Road Space Audit. It looks at current on and off-street parking demand, plus issues including future demands and pressures on the road network and parking supply.

The aims of the audit are to create a quieter, traffic calmed city centre and ensure there is an appropriate amount of parking for those who need it, while increasing the take-up of more sustainable modes of transport.

The audit makes several suggestions including:

  • Introducing a residential on-street parking scheme to cover the whole of the urban area of Chichester. This is to help protect parking for residents while also making use of surplus capacity so that commuters can park in the daytime. These commuter spaces would be subject to 'performance pricing' to control the length of stays.
  • Reducing the number of traffic movements in the city centre by closing and redeveloping surface car parks within the city walls, and then introducing more short stay spaces in the current long stay car parks (Northgate, Cattle Market and Avenue de Chartres).
  • Encouraging more people to walk, cycle and use public transport by reallocating road space.
  • Proactively managing traffic so it is directed away from the city centre by as part of a 'to, not through' approach.

Councillor Tony Dignum, Leader of Chichester District Council, said: "It is important to stress that at the moment, the audit is looking at the issues and possible ideas on how these could be resolved.  There is a lot of pressure on our road space and by looking at the needs of all road users, we can play a part in planning for the future.  On many issues, we found that the Road Space Audit was largely in line with the Vision for Chichester, but there were some suggestions that we feel require further consideration.

"For example, although the audit suggests closing some of our car parks, we want to make it absolutely clear that there are no current plans for closing any of our car parks apart from Basin Road, which was already identified through the Southern Gateway project.

"On the issue of income from off-street car parking, this helps us cover the cost of providing our car parks and any surplus is used to help support our other services. If there was a reduction in the number of off-street parking places, there would be a significant reduction in income which we would not find acceptable in the foreseeable future.

"We would welcome a continued phased extension to the Controlled Parking Zone, subject to sufficient resources and widespread consultation with and consideration of the impact on members of the public.

"If any of the proposals were accepted, then a lot more work would need to be carried out into costs. The full impact of the proposals on the retail sector has not been considered at this stage, and this will require careful assessment to understand any negative consequences before decisions are made. Extensive consultation would be held with a wide variety of people including residents, retailers and the needs of the city's larger employers and organisations would need to be looked at.

"We would also need to look further into the implications of the 'to, not through' approach. Other issues to be considered would be the impact on air quality and ensuring there is provision for car sharing schemes."

Date of Release: 7 November 2017                      

Reference: 3765