Free Christmas parking in Brighton and Hove set to be approved
10:19am Tuesday 12th November 2013
A Christmas gift of free festive parking is expected to be agreed today.
Opposition councillors have joined forces with a proposal to waive charges at city car parks in Brighton and Hove to boost businesses.
Free parking would be offered at Norton Road, London Road, Regency Square, High Street and Trafalgar Street car parks on Saturday, December 7 and on the three Sundays before Christmas.
With two opposition councillors against one Green on the Policy and Resources Urgency Sub-Committee the plan is expected to be passed.
Check back here this afternoon for the result of the council vote.
Last week the Green administration of Brighton and Hove City Council called the plan “anti-business” and said it would cost £112,000 in lost income.
It argued charging encouraged turnover of spaces, reduced congestion and benefited businesses.
Green councillors offered an alternative plan to reduce prices at London Road and Regency Square, with free parking in Norton Road car park in the run-up to Christmas.
But opposition councillors will vote for the original plan, originally passed as notice of motion at full council last month.
Councillor Ann Norman, Conservative spokeswoman, said: “I simply don’t buy the argument from the Greens that this will lead to parking chaos, particularly as we are targeting car parks that are heavily underused, such as Norton Road and London Road.
“Let’s give it a go this year, look at the evidence and, if necessary, tailor it for future years.”
Coun Warren Morgan, Labour spokesman, said: “We are supporting these proposals to help small businesses and give shoppers a much needed boost in the run up to Christmas.
“Free parking has worked well for many other local authorities across England and is something we want to try as part of a sensible approach to transport across Brighton and Hove.”
John Streeter, of campaign group Unchain the Brighton Motorist, said: “The Reds and the Blues must stick together on this.
“They must keep on backing Brighton’s small businesses and their free parking Sundays.”
Chris Todd, of Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, said: “This costly proposal will grab the headlines, but provide no lasting benefit.
“The money wasted on this giveaway could be better spent on improving our main shopping streets.”
Mike Best, operations director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said “The car parks are already busy so this will create queues of cars, hoping to park for free, and many people will be disappointed.”