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Brighton and Hove businesses urge council to act over parking fees
BUSINESS leaders have urged a council to implement changes to resolve parking and transport issues.
The Brighton Business Improvement District (BID) is calling for the council to declare a parking amnesty in large parts of the city on Sundays.
It also wants the council to reduce the hours to which parking charges apply, where possible, from 8pm to 6pm or earlier. Both the BID and the Tourism Alliance want the council to revisit the tiered charging structure, making it easier for motorists to stay longer in the city centre.
They want the council to introduce a park and ride scheme and traffic management system to reduce congestion by rerouting traffic at key periods. The moves follow The Argus’ Park the Charges campaign calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to review its recently introduced parking charge increases, to consult with residents and businesses and then decide what changes need to be made for the good of the city. The council plans to introduce a new eight-hour tariff costing £15 in the seafront high zone, which includes Madeira Drive.
A £20 all-day charge is still in place but a new medium tariff zone on Hove seafront from the Peace Statue to east of Fourth Avenue will cost a maximum of £10.
Andrew Burnyeat, chair of the Brighton Business Improvement District said: “These suggestions are designed to promote discussion about resolving the city’s parking and other transport issues. They are not ‘demands’. The fact that we got together to discuss this is a reflection of the genuine concern among residents, business people and people that work in the city. The main thing is to promote suggestions, so that we can find urgent solutions together. This debate includes the council, naturally and as a matter of necessity. What we can’t live with is the status quo.”
Claire Ottewell, chair of the Tourism Alliance, said: “The business organisations are looking for a constructive dialogue with the council to achieve a rapid resolve to the parking issue in order to protect the economy.
“Some of the ideas will take more work by all parties to deliver but they are good practical solutions to congestion and parking issues.”
Julia Chanteray, president of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce said: “The Chamber of Commerce believes the cost of parking needs to be realistic. The charges are high, but the queues of traffic to get into the central car parks at the weekend show that people are willing to pay these fees. As someone who advises businesses, I wouldn’t tell someone to reduce prices where your customers are queuing up to pay them. A Sunday amnesty for charging would merely bring more people into the queue and create more gridlock in the city.
“We have some serious issues with traffic and parking in Brighton and Hove, and these affect the local economy and the way we do business in the city. At the Chamber of Commerce we represent all types of business in the city, including retail and tourism, and we think that the most important issue is keeping the traffic flowing around the city so that people can get across town to do business. Although we want to encourage as many visitors as possible to the city, so that they spend money here, the limited car parking spaces in the city centre means that we have to think of additional ways to get people here. The Chamber has long wished for a decent Park and Ride scheme as a solution to the city’s traffic problems, but we recognise that land constraints in the city means that it is almost impossible to build, and that any spare land that might become available would perhaps better be used for housing and business development, which would generate wealth for the city.”
A spokeswoman for Brighton & Hove city Council said it is fully committed to supporting the business community and has listened closely and responded to the concerns of visitors, traders and residents on the issue of parking.
She said park and ride is one of a range of options but the challenge of finding sites and funding remains.
Council leader Bill Randall said: “We have listened and responded swiftly to bring in additional parking tariffs which will make it easier for people to come and enjoy our beautiful city while balancing the need to cut down on traffic volume and distribute trade and traffic more evenly around the city. The parking policy not only promotes Brighton and Hove, it protects the city from the very real and harmful effects of congestion and pollution. The additional tariffs introduced on the seafront are a one-off and we have to allow time for the new tariffs to bed in.”