Tuesday, April 24 2018

Published on April 12 2018. News
Anger over Camber car park
A beautiful landscape marred by metal signage

Anger over Camber car park

£100 fine – you have been warned

A fine mist hung in the air this morning April 12 and Camber western car park was deserted, except for the large number of metal sign-bearing posts despoiling the view of the dunes. Local Camber residents Jean and Charles Cary expressed their disgust at the intrusion of so many parking notices into the natural beauty of the landscape. Jean Cary said: “Apart from the fact that they look outrageous and an eyesore, they are a safety hazard. At nine or 10 feet high, they are not securely fixed into the sand and could be blown over in a high wind and could seriously injure people. We have a large family and are worried about our grandchildren playing here.”

Paul Cartwright, the owner of the Oasis Beach Shop was equally indignant: “I’ve had the shop here for 40 years and now there’s been nothing but aggro. The Council have fixed their notices to the side of my premises without asking my consent, and put my rates up by £1,000 this year. We get people coming in here seeking change for the meters and they are abusive when we refuse.”

The Oasis beach shop

The changes, made following a change in the pay-on-entry system and designed to reduce queues, were reportedly the subject of heated discussion at the Owl public house. There are complaints that no consultations have been held with residents. It was not known whether the urban-style development required planning permission but no advance notice had been given.

In fact, the management of the car park has been contracted out by Rother District Council to Smart Parking Ltd, a global company head-quartered in Australia. Their website claims that they “make car-parking a stress free experience”. They also claim to be entitled to charge fines of up to £100 for overstaying time, enforced by overhead CCTV at the car park entrance. The number of meters out of order, the need to enter car registration numbers, the non-availability of small change and the necessity to bear in mind the stipulated departure time could all be factors likely to affect the enjoyment of visitors to Camber Sands.

A local visitor from nearby Rye said, “I have found the previous method of buying a ticket on entry to be a friendly and human experience, and effective in raising revenue directly for the Council. This new regime is considered hostile and inimical in a rural environment”.

Photos: Kenneth Bird

There Are 6 Comments

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  1. Simon Parsons says:

    I can see that new signage may be unsightly and intrusive and probably unnecessary but wasn’t the idea that pay and display parking would alleviate the previous complaints of local residents about queues forming and blocking roads because of the previous ticketing system. You can’t win can you

  2. Crawford says:

    To Jean and Charles Cary, A car park is not a safe place to allow your grand children to play in, regardless of the new signage.
    Might I recommend Jubilee Green and Johnson’s Field instead?

    The queues that build up in the summer are regular and impact all traffic including public transport.
    The queue is regularly as far back as Rye Watersports, and has even been as far back as the A259 causing a knock on effect in Rye itself.

    Regardless as to how ‘human’ it is to buy a ticket from a person instead of a machine, this system is long overdue and totally necessary.

    I am sure that the staff who had to sit in those little boxes in the sweltering heat are equally as glad.

    Stagecoach were going to abandon the bus service through Camber in the peak season because the delays were so bad.

    • Jean Cary says:

      Children have always played in the car park on their way to and from the beach. Families picnic and barbecue there. There are two public lavatories and a popular cafe and beach shop with people milling around all day. Visitors do not go straight to the beach and stay there.
      The huge signs are unstable and a Health and Safety hazard to all. Some of them have already blown over.
      They are also a dreadful eyesore. There are over seventy of them.
      The pay machines have yet to endure a very high wind which will bring sand from the beach, clog up the machines and cause chaos.

  3. Zena Brooker says:

    Having lived in Camber for over 20 years (we moved to Rye 5 years ago) I remember well the awful traffic problems relating to this car park. Now the cars can drive in without holding up all other road users.
    The problem appears to be the huge amount of signage. Was this amount if signs real necessary?
    As to Jean and Charles Cary. I agree the car park is definitely not the place for your grandchildren to play. As you are not residents but just holiday home owners the problems with the blocked roads etc probably have affected you as much as residents.

    • Jean Cary says:

      We have owned our house in Camber for over twenty years. During that time we have constantly seen local and visiting children playing in the green field known as the Western Carpark. Most of the year there are no cars at all. I’m sure we all agree that children (even the children of visitors), dog walkers and anyone using the field for picnics or barbecues should be able to do so safely. The field was formerly part of the golf club and was, in fact, the furthest hole from the clubhouse. It was always a field and is an important area of open space due to its proximity to the dunes. Let’s keep it that way. Everyone we have spoken to locally says that the signage is unnecessary and dangerous and that the new method of payment will cause even worse traffic jams.

  4. Clare says:

    Unfortunately I don’t think that whatever is done to the car park(s) it will have any impact on those who won’t pay for parking and deem it is appropriate to park on pavements, across drives and anywhere they feel like thus restricting access for residents and emergency services. Not to mention leaving their rubbish, dirty nappies, bottles etc all over the place. There is no parking enforcement in the village (all the discussions seem to be about Rye)and it seems we are just expected to put up with it.

    Like the other comments above – I wonder why someone is letting children play in the car park – there are 2 fields and a huge beach!

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