Free car parks – Felpham and Middleton-On-Sea

We are proposing (date to be confirmed) to introduce a new maximum free stay period within Grassmere (Felpham), Links Avenue (Felpham) and Shrubbs Field (Middleton-on-Sea) free car parks. We know residents have questions about these changes so have prepared this page to address them.

Consultation responses and outcome


  1. Further to a decision by the council’s Environment Committee in November 2023, some changes are proposed to the way three car parks operate in Felpham and Middleton-on-Sea. The car parks are those at Grassmere Close at Felpham, Links Avenue at Felpham and Shrubbs Field at Middleton-on-sea. These car parks have a 24 hour maximum stay period and are free of charge. We aim to gather information about how these car parks are used, and reduce long staying misuse of these car parks. We propose that the car parks remain free of charge but that the maximum stay periods are changed to include a no-return period along with a new requirement to obtain and display a free-of-charge ticket from a machine. 
  2. As part of the proposed changes, Arun District Council has consulted with the community, stakeholders and any other parties affected by the proposed changes to the free car parks. 

Public consultation responses:

  1. The public were consulted via a public notice in a local newspaper, social media post, home-page of Arun District Council’s website along with an ‘frequently asked questions’ document explaining the changes proposed. 
  2. A total of 34 responses were received to the consultation, all against the proposed changes. 
  3. A summary of the concerns raised during the consultation period regarding the proposed free parking time and the no return periods follow:
    1. The anticipated detrimental impact of the free parking time restrictions on residents, carers, businesses, employees working in the vicinity, local amenities and visitors to the area. 
    2.  Potential abuse of the ticketing system (via pushing the ticket button repeatedly in protest causing the machines to run out of tickets with the associated environmental impact risk including littering). 
    3. Potential adverse impact on on-street parking in the area. Motorists will choose to park on-street rather than park within the car park and obtain a free ticket.
    4. Parking charges would be introduced within the car parks.  
    5. Taxpayers’ money is being used to carry out the proposed changes. 
    6. Queries were raised during the consultation regarding pothole repairs. 

Arun District Council decision: 

Throughout the consultation period, comments were considered as they were received and where appropriate follow-up enquiries were made to understand the issues raised better. 

  1. Consequent to the representations made it has been decided that the maximum stay time at Grassmere and Shrubbs Field car parks between 8am to 6pm should be increased from the proposed eight hours to nine hours. 
  2. Following the consultation responses, keypads will be installed on the front of the pay and display machines. Motorists will need to input their vehicle registration details in to obtain a free ticket. This will reduce the risk of the data collected being tainted by misuse and will significantly reduce the possibility of anti-social behaviour.
  3. The proposed non-return time at Grassmere Close and Shrubbs Field be reduced from the proposed two hours to one hour.
  4. Vehicles will be permitted to park overnight from 6pm to 8am without needing to display a free pay and display ticket in each of the three car parks. 
  5. At Grassmere Close and Shrubbs Field these changes will enable people to park for up to 23 hours per day free of charge after obtaining and displaying a ticket. This is just one hour per day less than the current restrictions. Overall, the changed restrictions are therefore considered to adversely impact on very few people who abide by the current restrictions at these locations. 
  6. The Links Avenue maximum stay/non-return periods remain as consulted upon (two hours maximum stay time, with six hour non-return period) to address particularly acute misuse at this location. 
  7. Concerns were raised that the proposal was to introduce charges. There are no current proposals to introduce charges for parking in any of the three free car parks. Any such decision would be a matter for the Environment Committee to make.
  8. Concerns have been raised regarding on-street parking within the villages on zig-zags and yellow lines. The Parking Services team try to reach as many areas of the district as often as possible within the Civil Enforcement Officer resource available. 
  9. Concerns were raised that Council Tax income is being used to fund the changes and maintenance of these car parks. The funding comes from income generated from council-owned car parks elsewhere in the district.
  10. Concerns were raised regarding potholes in the highway. Highway maintenance is the responsibility of West Sussex County Council. 
  11. It is accepted that whilst Buckingham Court have their own car park for their residents, some residents have been parking their cars at Shrubbs Field car park in breach of the existing 24 hour maximum stay time. In order to avoid displacing such vehicles onto the highway, as a transitionary measure, residents within Buckingham Court will be offered 20 parking permits for use within Shrubbs Field car park, for a period of one year.

The decision here aligns with the Environment Committee resolution on 21 November 2023. 

The go-live date for the changes is yet to be determined but will be later that the originally proposed 1 April.

Questions and answers

Which car parks will be affected?

Links Avenue (Felpham), Grassmere (Felpham) and Shrubbs Field (Middleton-On-Sea) car parks.

Are charges being introduced?

No; the three car parks will remain free.

What changes are happening?

The maximum free parking period and no return period is proposed to be introduced in three free car parks in Felpham and Middleton-On-Sea. Motorists will be required to obtain a free ticket from one of the repurposed pay and display machines located within the car parks. This ticket must be clearly displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle.

What are the proposed free parking and no return times?

  • Grassmere car park – 9 hours free parking, no return within 1 hour.
  • Links Avenue – 2 hours free parking, no return within 6 hours.
  • Shrubbs Field – 9 hours free parking, no return within 1 hour. 

When will the changes come into force?

The date for the changes is yet to be determined. 

Why are these changes being made now?

We are proposing to introduce ticket machines to enable us to collect usage data on these car parks. This data can be used to inform decisions, in partnership with the parish councils, regarding any future changes to the car parks.

The proposed changes will also deter abuse of the car park, allowing a greater turnover of vehicles and will identify abandoned vehicles earlier, enabling their removal, ensuring availability for residents and visitors.

Between what times will I need to obtain a ticket?

The operating hours of the car parks are proposed to be 8.00am-6.00pm, seven days a week.

Can I park overnight?

Vehicles will be permitted to park overnight from 6.00pm to 8.00am without needing to display a free pay and display ticket.

What will happen if I don’t display, or forget to display a ticket?

If a vehicle is parked within one of the three free car parks and fails to display a ticket, a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.

What happens if I stay beyond the free parking period?

If a vehicle remains within one of the free car parks beyond the free parking period, they may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Vehicles must not return to the car park within the no return period or risk being issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

How many ticket machines will there be?

In Links Avenue car park, there will be one machine located near the entrance. Grassmere and Shrubbs Field car parks will each have two machines.

Do I need to obtain a ticket if I have a valid Blue Badge?

No. Blue Badge holders can continue to park within all Arun District Council car parks all day, without obtaining a ticket, as long as a valid Blue Badge is clearly displayed.

After getting a ticket, can I leave the car park and come back within the original free parking period?

If a ticket is obtained for a free parking stay, motorists can come and go during this time as long as the ticket is retained and displayed each time upon parking. Once the free parking period has expired, the applicable no return period will apply.

How much is this costing the council?

The full costs for the proposed changes have now been obtained and are set out below: 

  • The installation cost is £150 per machine and the machines themselves are stock and are not an additional cost to the council.
  • The ongoing maintenance and restocking of the machines will be encompassed under our existing car park contract.
  •  The main boards for the three car parks were due to be upgraded this year due to weathering and the overall condition deteriorating. The cost of five new boards is £1,050.83.
  • The cost for new poles for signage is £945.
  • The cost for other car park signage is £654.
  • Enforcement of the three car parks is covered under our exiting car park contract. 
  • Due to unknown usage figures, the cost of tickets for the five machines is estimated to be £234.40 per year. 
  • To ensure effective and efficient enforcement and to deter anti-social behaviour concerns raised by members of the public and residents during the consultation period, a software upgrade for the five repurposed pay & display machines has been necessary. This upgrade is to add keypads to the front of all machines. Visitors to the car parks will need to input their vehicle registration details to obtain a free ticket. The cost for this upgrade is £1,294.
  • The total cost for the proposed changes is £4,928.23.