The introduction of CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement – the replacement of police by parking wardens to control and enforce parking regulations) has for some time been regarded by many as the answer to the town’s traffic problems.
Unfortunately this is not the case – although it will certainly help with some of the problems, mainly preventing obstruction by inappropriately parked vehicles and enabling permanent access to some of our narrow medieval streets.
However it has not been possible to combine this with a scheme to include traffic flow generally, including limitations on access to certain types of vehicles, speed restrictions, use and availability of car parks and extension of existing residents’ parking.
CPE, therefore, will initially apply only to on-street parking arrangements that are currently in use within the area shown on the map. So, no parking on double yellow lines or in residents-only areas, no all-day parking in areas restricted to one or two hours and no ignoring loading bay restrictions. And that is it.
There is a significant cost to this (the provision of wardens plus the administration of both them and the penalty fine process) and this will be covered by a pay and display system when parking within the defined area with meters being situated at various points in the High Street and elsewhere.
In a one-day exhibition that East Sussex County Council put on in Rye it became apparent that as CPE was to run throughout Rother and Wealden districts, it was being introduced on a “one size fits all” basis and no allowance was being made to accommodate the unique features of Rye. An example of this was the style of parking meter proposed – a large machine complete with solar panels to provide its power and far too large to fit easily on the town’s pavements. Although Rye County Councillor Keith Glazier has advised the Town Council that something smaller could be used, a reply from the County Council department tasked with implementing CPE, to questions asked by Deputy Mayor Cllr Rebekah Gilbert seems to contradict this.
At a recent town council meeting concerns were expressed that the cars displaced from their current illegal parking spots together with those who owners would be unable or unwilling to return every few hours to move them to another part of town, would find spaces in non-controlled areas and thereby simply move the problem further out rather than cure it. At the same meeting Cllr Glazier pointed out, in response, that the County Council was supplying what was asked for and that was that. He did, however, add that there would be a review of how the system was working at the end of a year. There was no promise though that a review would necessarily instigate any changes.
Part of the answer would be to encourage greater use of the car parks (which do not come under CPE) and in particular, the much-underused Gibbet Marsh. Rother District Council seems to have taken this, at least partly, on board by declining the suggestion in the Neighbourhood Plan to reclassify the overspill area as green space but to keep it as car park. The full resolution can be seen in RDC Cabinet minutes on pages 5 and 6.
The moral of this story would seem to be ‘Be careful what you wish for, you might get it’.
Image Credits: ESCC.