Introduction of flexible season ticket offer and changes to parking charges under consideration

PR2393/JH/MJ - 11/11/2021

Mid Sussex District Council is proposing to implement a new flexible season ticket offer and to increase car parking charges in line with inflation.

Changes are proposed to car park season tickets, which are primarily used by town centre workers and commuters. The pandemic has dramatically changed the way people work, with many more people working from home, and this has had an impact on the demand for season tickets. The number of people using town centre season tickets is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, so a flexible 3-day season ticket could be introduced to fit in with new working habits.

Public sector organisations across the UK are facing serious budget gaps as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In local government, the financial cost of supporting communities through the pandemic has been huge. Even with additional funding from the Government, the cost to Mid Sussex District Council was £1.9 million during the 2020/21 financial year and Covid-19 will continue to have a significant impact on the Council’s finances over the coming years.

Parking charges in Mid Sussex town centre Pay and Display car parks have remained the same for the past ten years, which means they have not kept pace with inflation or rising management and maintenance costs.

One of the measures Mid Sussex District Council is proposing to help protect essential public services and to enable continued investment in the parking estate particulary in new technologies to improve customer service is an increase in parking charges. This would see parking for one hour increase from 80p to £1 and is directly in line with inflation since the last increase a decade ago. The proposed increase will generate around £350,000 each year.

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 2 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.

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

Councillor Stephen Hillier, MSDC Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said:

“Our parking charges have remained frozen for the past decade and by bringing them back in line with inflation we will be able to support our key statutory services while also investing in the modernisation of our car parks.

“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.”

“The financial pressures created on council finances by the coronavirus pandemic are here to stay for the foreseeable future. We must plan ahead if we are to protect our services and safeguard the long-term sustainability of the Council.”