Only a fortnight after Rye Town Council (RTC) discussed parking, in the absence of the two local Rother District Councillors (RDC), it will be discussing parking again at an extra meeting of the council on Monday November 13, because many questions were raised and left unanswered at the previous meeting. However this has led to an email from RDC Cllr Lord Ampthill in which he says, “we should, if the Secretary of State approves, see the reappearance reasonably soon of an enforcement regime based on current parking restrictions”. However he also says “in the meantime a new scheme will continue to be worked up by RDC and ESCC in preparation for wide consultation – with proposals for dealing with such difficult problems as parking on Udimore Road, Military Road, and many others”.
In Rother’s case this work is being undertaken by a Task and Finish Group due to report back to Rother’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on November 27, although Lord Ampthill says “I suspect their main item will be the governance of Bexhill as that issue nears a conclusion”.
At the RTC meeting, the councillors agreed that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) should press on with applying to the Department for Transport (DfT) for government approval for the introduction of the Civil Enforcement of Parking (CPE) by traffic wardens instead of the police.
RTC also agreed that any application should be based on current parking restrictions, not new ones, as consultations on any new ones could add years to any DfT approval. And RTC also said it wanted CPE to be funded on “the user pays” principle using permits and meters instead of an increase in local rates.
Councillor Rebekah Gilbert, also raised a long list of questions about how CPE might work and what further restrictions might be introduced. Local county councillor Keith Glazier, who leads ESCC, answered what questions he could about CPE in principle, but said they were consulting districts such as RDC on detail.
No RDC councillors were present to answer questions, and some town councillors commented before and at the meeting that information from RDC was very limited. RDC had called a stakeholders’ meeting on an “invitation only” basis and it was focused only on the three questions the town council answered at its last meeting.
- Do you want CPE ?
- Do you want it as soon as possible using existing restrictions, or do you want a bespoke solution which could involve significant delays?
- And how do you want to pay for it?
In the meantime though, Lord Ampthill’s email to the Town Clerk seems to have thrown the cat amongst the pigeons in advance of the town council on Monday – which, he says, neither he, nor Rye’s other RDC councillor, can attend.
Rother’s “invitation only” CPE stakeholders event takes place on November 29, but there is no certainty what information will be available or given out at that meeting.
Lord Ampthill states in his email, “we would have nothing to report on of which members are not already aware” and “in respect of Cllr Gilbert’s questions, everyone is currently considering answers to all of them”.
And he adds that some answers “will have emerged by the time of the Stakeholders’ event” which will be attended by representatives of RTC, the Chamber of Commerce and Rye Conservation Society.
The RTC meeting is expected to start no earlier than 6:50pm at the Town Hall in Market Street on Monday November 13. It is open to the public and the published agenda item is “85 CPE – To Consider Cllr Ampthill’s response to the Clerk’s email of 31 October”.
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