Over the weekend we made you aware that the Labour councillors were to propose a motion to Burgess Hill Town Council, where if agreed, a letter would be written to Mid Sussex District Council requesting a 3 month trial period whereby shoppers would pay £1 for 2 hours parking, this would replace the rate of £1.20 for two hours.
On Monday evening, the full meeting of Burgess Hill Town Council took place. BHU went along to monitor the proceedings. We know the councillors just LOVE our presence.
In a nutshell… A parking stategy document had previously been produced by Anne Jones (Cons) Janice Henwood (Lib) and Janet Smith (Lab) They had a 5 point plan that was to be submitted to Mid Sussex District Council. In a previous meeting, BHTC approved this action, BUT not the point about £1 for two hours car parking. Hence the reason for the Labour councillors putting forward a motion at Monday’s meeting for the charging plan to finally be put forward to MSDC.
During the discussion of this motion on Monday evening, there were alot of embarassed looks on the faces of certain councillors as they ‘panicked to work out just why the charging schedule hadn’t been put to MSDC sooner. It was rather funny to watch. They were probably thinking ‘Oh no! BHU will have a field day with this!’
It was claimed (and confirmed the next day) the reason the parking charge wasn’t previously put in front of MSDC was because of ‘ABM’ Cllr Andrew Barrett-Miles (He of the £80 million cast-iron guarantee for improvements to Burgess Hill) You see, ABM wanted to give NewRiver Retail – owner of the Martlets – the chance to complete their own car parking study/strategy.
Needless to say that opposition councilllors had a field day at sticking the boot in on NewRiver Retail. If you’re a regular reader of BHU then you’ll be well aware that NewRiver are constantly changing their minds on what their going to be doing with the martlets and are months behind schedule. Even Andrew Barrett-Miles himself muttered that NewRiver Retail have got bigger things to worry about at the moment. Erm, well what about our dying town centre!
It was decided that David Carden – town clerk, would contact NewRiver Retail to find out where they are at regarding their own car parking study. If the response was negative, then BHTC would submit their own parking charge proposal to the district council.
We now fastforward to Tuesday afternoon. The council’s key area group for strategic planning, transport and enconomy had a meeting at 2:30. Again, BHU went along, hoping to hear the response from NewRiver Retail.
The meeting commenced with David Carden confirming that he’d made contact with NewRiver Retail and that he’d also received a response. Surprise surprise. NewRiver Retail had NOTHING TO REPORT. As a result. BHTC are now sending their proposal to MSDC to have a three-month trial of 2 hours parking for £1.
Explaining the pricing charge proposal
On Sunday evening, members of the BHU Facebook page gave their reaction to the inital £1 for 2 hours parking proposal. It was met with a rather flat response. At the meeting, Cllr Janice Henwood explained the situation. Currently many people just put in £1 for 1 hours parking as the meters don’t give change – as a result, MSDC are making thousands of extra pounds off the shoppers. The view is that shoppers shouldn’t have to overpay, thus they should get 2 hours instead. Makes sense really, and as the BHU office cleaner said on the proposal “It’s better than a poke in the eye”
Disclaimer - The is an honest account of what took place at the two council meetings on Monday and Tuesday. If anyone at the council has spotted any dreadful inaccuracies, please get in touch and we’ll consider making corrections.