LETTER: Thanks for signing

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Burgess Hill Labour Party thanks the 1500 plus residents who enthusiastically supported the petition to Mid Sussex District Council calling for a three hour free parking period in the town.

We particularly thank the small traders in the town who overwhelmingly supported the idea.

Regrettably, at its meeting on December 17 the Conservative-led Mid Sussex District Council voted to note the petition and to maintain the current charging policy.

This is particularly disappointing because it is absolutely clear that a free parking period helps to rejuvenate small towns. Towns across the country have proved this and in Sussex places from Bexhill in the east to Midhurst in the west have reported on the success of free parking they have introduced. Even in Mid Sussex free parking (once a parking disk has been purchased) is acknowledged to make a big difference to larger villages such as Hurstpierpoint and Hassocks, and the district council acknowledges that parking concessions in the town centres at Christmas boost trade.

The local Conservatives are clearly out of touch and disgracefully categorised the petitioners, some of them their own supporters, as protesters who will sign anything for a ‘free lunch’.

We were very surprised that the Mayor of the town, Councillor Anne Jones, who has recently written about the problems of parking in residential roads and drawn attention to the under used car parks, voted to ignore the petition and to ignore the views of the small traders in the town who know that they are talking about.

We should make it clear that, in suggesting improvements, the Labour Party is not running down Burgess Hill. On the contrary we are real supporters of Burgess Hill and recognise it as a good place to live. Surely there can be nothing wrong with trying to make it even better.It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Labour Party is the only realistic opposition to the Conservatives and we will continue always to put Burgess Hill first and to fight for the interests of residents that live here. This is particularly important with new proposals for the redevelopment of the town centre and with the prospect of thousands of new homes being built in coming years.

David Chalkley

Secretary, Burgess Hill Branch Labour Party

Junction Road, Burgess Hill