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Burgess Hill Town Council Show Lack Of Concern For Car Parking Changes & Price Hike

8th March 2024 | By Peter Chapman

Only one of Burgess Hill's TWENTY Town Councillors showed concern for the recent price hike and introduction of evening and Sunday parking charges decided by Mid Sussex District Council a week earlier.

A resident spoke up during the 'Open Forum' portion of the full council meeting on Monday 4th March, to ask: Do Burgess Hill Town Councillors not on Mid Sussex (District Council) support MSDC’s decision to charge Burgess Hill residents for parking in the evenings, Sundays and bank holidays or do they support the residents?

Chairman Cllr Janice Henwood overlooked Leader Richard Cherry and Deputy Leader Peter Williams, choosing to turn to Cllr Robert Eggleston to respond (he is no longer the leader of the Town Council) but the resident with the question stepped in to remind the Chairman that she wanted to hear from councillors who did not 'have a voice' at the District Council meeting.

First to speak was Cllr Adam White (Conservative) he said:
“I think my position on this has been clear and I do not support the decision.”

Council Leader Cllr Richard Cherry (Lib Dem) - who doesn't often speak much on Town Council matters, said:
“Well I think we’ve got a modest increase in Burgess Hill, one that is better than the other towns in Mid Sussex.  

“As far as the evening and weekend parking is concerned, we were simply following the demands of modern-day shopping, I believe there is a report that backs this up and really it’s a way of balancing the books for the District and a low-paying way of doing it.”

The only other councillor who was prepared to offer a view was Cllr Stuart Condie (Lib Dem) he said:
“Well for my part, it’s all very well saying we don’t want these charges to go up and you want to forgo the income, well in that case you’ve got to replace it somewhere else. You've got to cut costs or find another revenue stream.

No one likes this, but this is the situation that all councils are in, they are all putting up charges, West Sussex is the same, putting up charges for all sorts of things, because frankly, what else can they do? Their sources of revenue are very limited and it’s the same in Mid Sussex."

Residents will be disappointed by the limited responses from the Liberal Democrats on Burgess Hill Town Council - who in the previous term were always seeking for Mid Sussex to step up and help the Town Centre.

The Libs Dems on the Town Council had the 'Bridge the Gap' initative and then the Economic Support team - scrapped after just one year and now appear to be keeping quiet on the Town Centre woes as any criticism of MSDC would mean knocking the biggest party - which since May 2023 is the Liberal Democrats!

Back in December 2022, when launching a 3-month free parking initative for anyone making a purchase from the friday market, then-town council leader, Robert Eggleston said: “The Town Council doesn’t own or run any of the town’s car parks, so I think it would be fair to say that this initiative is a sign of our genuine commitment to the economic life of the town and how we will do all we can to support the local economy.”

Cllr Eggleston became leader of Mid Sussex District Council 6 months later, but the Liberal Democrats didn't take the opportunity to introduce any car parking offers. Now we have extra charging periods and higher costs.

This issue is sure to rumble on and will certainly be on people's minds with the General Election closing in.

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