Car park sign sparks controversy


There must be a TV series waiting to happen (or possibly already in production, or even showing now on some obscure cable channel) called “Planning Enforcement Complaints Received” as these often mark the approaching outbreak of war with the neighbours, or other general mayhem.
Rother District Council (RDC) is the local planning authority, and it regularly publishes a list of complaints received, which cover a multitude of apparent sins ranging from change of use, to the apparent desecration of listed buildings, and the appearance of buildings without planning permission.
And the photo above shows the subject of one of the latest complaints covering a “Large Advertisement For Car Park On Traffic Island” in Station Approach by Rye Railway Station.
The island itself marks the entrance to the station car park, taxi rank and public conveniences, and is on a sharp corner where traffic comes past Jempsons supermarket and turns right to go up the hill past the bus stops. This can be a very busy road, particularly after the level crossing has just opened, as this is the only route traffic can take coming in from the Udimore Road.
If you study the photo with care you will see the sign is a mass of information covering the car park’s rules, regulations and charges in a not particularly large or readable typeface. A driver trying to read it (if that is even possible) would have his or her rear end stuck out into the fast-moving traffic.
Similarly a pedestrian has either to balance precariously on the traffic island or risk standing in the road to be able to read the notice.
However (according to the list earlier this week) Rother’s Complaints Officer Dan Bevan (from whom I sought further explanation) had decided the complaint’s status is: “No further action – not expedient to take further action in the public interest.” However he has now apologised for any confusion, and says the matter is still being investigated.
Having thought for some time that that was the stupidest (as well as most dangerous) place to put a notice of that sort where nobody can read it without endangering themselves or others, I was very puzzled about what the “public interest” was.
Of course the car park’s rules and regulations need to be displayed prominently, but in a place where they can be read safely – and I hope the end result is that that is what happens.
I could understand the car park operators putting a sign on the traffic island in very large letters which said: “Car park starts here” but common sense does not seem to have been applied in this situation.
I do not know what the reaction of the complainant is who contacted Rother for action – but I suspect the RDC are now aware of the need to move this notice.

Photo: Rye News Library

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