Parking charges in some town centre car parks in Worthing are proposed to increase to help fund a much needed multi-million pound upgrade aimed at improving the experience of shoppers and visitors to the town. With a number of major regeneration schemes transforming the town, Worthing Borough Council leaders believe this should include upgrading its multi-storey car parks.
To help fund the refurbishment, the local authority has recommended a number of modest increases to tariffs at some of the car parks it operates – the first proposed rise since 2014. Business groups in the town – including the Town Centre Initiative and Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the fact prices would still compare favourably to those in neighbouring towns and cities. The proceeds would support a major investment programme to High Street and Buckingham Road car parks, some of which is already underway.
New lighting and replacement CCTV has already been installed in both car parks. This together with recently introduced night patrols will improve security at all sites. A programme to replace lifts in Buckingham Road will get under way in December. Future works will include refurbishment of parking decks, entrances and public stairwells and new signage. In future it will be easier for customers to pay with online automatic billing and contactless payment options being pursued.
Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “We know that having sufficient high quality parking is critical to Worthing’s local economy – not only are multi-storeys quite often the first thing visitors see, but they also help reduce congestion in the town centre. That’s why it’s vital that we up our game and ensure that our car parks are welcoming, safe and accessible to all. This would be the first price increase since we brought the off-street car parks back in house in 2014. But we have ensured they remain competitive and represent value for money.”
Worthing Borough Council brought the running of the car parks back ‘in-house’ from NCP in 2014 and substantially reduced the rates from £1.70 an hour. They have remained that level for four years.
The proposed tariff changes, which could be introduced in the new year, will affect Buckingham Road, High Street, and Grafton multi-storey car parks, as well as Lyndhurst Road surface car park. Customers would still be able to enjoy £1 per hour for up to four hours on Saturdays and free parking on Sundays at the Civic Centre car park behind the Town Hall.
The popular £1 tariff for the first hour will remain while prices will remain lower than on street parking for up to two hours (the maximum length of on street parking in central Worthing).
The proposals will be subject to consultation with key stakeholders including West Sussex County Council and the police.
Chris Spratt, Chairman of Worthing’s Town Centre Initiative, said: “I’m delighted to learn the council has committed to carry out some much needed investment into the car parks. We are very keen to see investment in improving the customer experience when visiting Worthing. It is unfortunate that the cost of parking is increasing but I’m pleased the council has been astute enough to keep the costs lower than equivalent parking in nearby towns. The TCI has agreed to partner with the council in looking at ways to improve the appearance of the car parks to provide a positive welcome to the town.”