In April Ed Crouch of The Worthing Page and Paul O’Brien of Candy Love both presented petitions calling on Worthing Borough Council not to renew the current car parking contracts with NCP and NSL.
The Worthing Page petition stated: “The current expensive parking is crippling our town and a renewal of the contracts with NSL and NCP will continue this problem into the future. An alternative must be found. A full public consultation on any renewal should be held and community lead or Big Society alternatives considered. On a County level there must be true parking price equality from Chichester through to Brighton both on street (CPZ) and multi-storey.”
Hopes were raised of a fresh start with millions of revenue raised in Worthing staying in Worthing and not being distributed throughout West Sussex as was the case at the time.
Yet six months later the Cabinet Member responsible for car parking, and the renegotiation of the contracts, stated in Council on Tuesday the contract with NSL has been extended for another year. Worthing Daily understands this extension is on the same terms and conditions – money will still outflow from Worthing.
Mr Crouch and Mr O’Brien were able to get a full Council debate on car parking, as their petitions were each backed by over 1,000 signatures from residents, in accordance with the ‘Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009’.
It was the first time residents secured a debate by the power of the people. Perhaps it is also the last time as on Tuesday East Worthing beach chalet renters despite having over 2,300 signatures for their petition failed to secure a debate. Their petition was referred to the next six member Cabinet meeting on the advice of the Legal Officer. Worthing Daily would like to see the legal basis for so easily side-stepping a debate under the 2009 Act.
April was full of promise of power to the people, full of promise for a full public consultation, full of promise of cheaper car parking, full of promise for millions more for Worthing’s infrastructure.
Hope sprang eternal – what happened?