Are parking charges having 
negative effect on town centre?

jpco-11-7-12 Keith Blake and Wife Sally at their home (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-11-7-12 Keith Blake and Wife Sally at their home (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Councillors are to examine whether a lack of affordable parking is having a negative effect on the town centre.

A report put before a meeting of the Town Centre Car Parking Scrutiny Panel on February 18 laid out details of a review into parking and asked members to contribute.

Members were informed few complaints had been received by Crawley Borough Council about a lack of parking provision.

That, coupled with the number of empty spaces seen in all the town centre car parks, led officers to believe the problem was one of people’s perception, leading them to stay away.

The report stated: “The perception is that there is insufficient parking provision within the town centre and that this could potentially be the reason for the reduction in local business trade.”

Panel chairman Cllr Keith Blake (Con, Gossops Green) said the meeting was the first of four which would be held before the final recommendations were put before the rest of the council.

Regarding the price of parking in the town centre, he said: “It could be that we might find there’s a shortage of very short-term parking.

“A lot of people said they would appreciate very short-term parking and we have recognised there is not a lot of that. People don’t mind paying for parking if they are going to be in town for two to three hours but short-term it’s a bit of a sore point.”

One suggestion mentioned in the report was the possibility of identifying areas to be used specifically by older drivers as they were the ones least likely to do their shopping online.

Cllr Blake said: “There are all sorts of different areas and different facets we need to look at. I want to look at if there are options to provide spaces for commuters to get them off the streets.

“And do we need to look outside the town centre at the neighbouring neighbourhoods such as Northgate and Southgate because a lot of parking takes place there.

“Some canny shoppers don’t mind walking for 10 minutes if the parking is free.”

The next panel meeting will be on March 18.