At the monthly meeting of Rye Town Council this week (Monday, December 10), the question of CPE (civil parking enforcement) exercised the councillors for the greater part of the meeting.
The first round of consultations for the CPE plan ends on Monday, January 14 and if Rye Town Council are to make any comments on it, these need to be submitted to East Sussex County Council by then.
There is a misconception about the role of the county council in implementing CPE, and county councillor for Rye, Keith Glazier, clarified this. The role of ESCC is a purely legal one. It is to take over from the police the responsibility for ensuring that parking regulations are complied with. This will require wardens who themselves will need an administration system. There is a cost to this which will be covered by charging for on street parking using a ‘pay and display’ system.
Councillor Glazier emphasised that it was not in the county’s remit to control off street parking or to be responsible for providing additional parking in areas not currently covered by the scheme. It was, he said, up to Rye and Rother to decide what was needed.
It was against this background that Councillor Harkness asked for a joined up approach by Rye Town Council, Rother District Council and ESCC to consider the effects of strict parking control and the requirement that will be needed for vehicles currently displaced from their existing (and often illegal) parking areas, in order to avoid unacceptable congestion in places not covered by parking controls – Military Road and some parts of Tilling Green were given as examples. He suggested that a working group should be set up to examine this and make recommendations.
Currently, said Rother Councillor Lord Ampthill, Rye has some 531 spaces in six car parks and there is a need, he suggested, for around 1,500 additional spaces within, say, a ten minute walk of the High Street – this would also provide commuter parking should the Javelin train ever come to Rye.
He went on to say that one solution would be to use the old lower school site as a two-storey car park, which would cover the additional requirement and be available for long term season ticket parking as well as casual users. This would however, depend on the result of a residential planning application due to be presented for this space.
The intention behind the CPE scheme was generally agreed to be good, but it was only when it was examined in detail that some of the drawbacks were becoming evident and it was for this reason, Councillor Harkness argued, that a committee was needed to examine all the implications for the whole town and to report accordingly.
This was put to a vote which resulted in a split council – six for and six against. No alternative plan of action was put forward by any of the six against, which included three former mayors and, with the casting vote from the mayor, the motion was agreed. The mayor, Councillor Boyd, did however make the point that the committee, comprising five councillors, needed to get on with it and be ready to report to a special council meeting on Monday, January 14. As this is closing day for submissions to ESCC, Councillor Glazier agreed an extension of one day to allow time for the submission to be sent, following the council meeting.
Image Credits: Rye News library.