Mid Sussex car parking charges may increase soon due to Covid pandemic, says District Council

Mid Sussex District Council is proposing to increase car parking charges for the first time in ten years.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 10:38 am

The council said charges in town centre Pay and Display car parks have remained the same for a decade and have not kept pace with inflation or rising management and maintenance costs.

The proposed increase would see parking for one hour increase from 80p to £1, generating about £350,000 a year.

This would be in line with inflation since the previous increase ten years ago.

Mid Sussex District Council said car parking charges in town centre Pay and Display car parks have remained the same for a decade and have not kept pace with inflation. Picture: Google Street View.

“The decision to increase parking charges is not one we take lightly, but we must make some tough choices over the next few years if we are to effectively manage our budget and recover from the effects of this awful pandemic,” said councillor Stephen Hillier, MSDC cabinet Member for Economic Growth.

The council said that public sector organisations across the UK are facing ‘serious budget gaps’ because of Covid.

Even with extra funding from the Government, the cost to Mid Sussex District Council was £1.9 million during the 2020/21 financial year.

Mr Hillier said that bringing parking charges back in line with inflation would help the council support key statutory services while investing in modernising the car parks.

This would include investing in new technologies to improve customer service.

“The financial pressures created on council finances by the coronavirus pandemic are here to stay for the foreseeable future,” said Mr Hillier.

“We must plan ahead if we are to protect our services and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the Council,” he added.

Mid Sussex District Council is also proposing to implement a new flexible season ticket offer.

The changes would be for car park season tickets, which are mainly used by town centre workers and commuters.

The council said the Covid pandemic has ‘dramatically changed the way people work’, with many more people working from home.

The number of people using town centre season tickets is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, so a flexible three-day season ticket may be introduced.

A District Council spokesman added: “Mid Sussex is currently one of the cheapest places to park in the area when compared to neighbouring Council areas and this will continue to be the case if the proposed change to parking charges is introduced.”

“Parking for two hours in a Mid Sussex District Council car park would cost a maximum of £1.50 compared with £1.80 in Lewes, £2 in Crawley and £2.80 in Horsham,” he said.

The proposed changes to parking charges and season tickets will be considered by Full Council on Wednesday (December 8), when a final decision will be made.