MP starts squeeze on illegal parking

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The High Street - only for pedestrians?

There is a police blitz on illegal car parking in Rye at the moment, mayor Bernadine Fiddimore told councillors on Monday. Earlier this month two officers arrived unannounced and issued more than 80 illegal parking tickets, worth about £4,000 in fines. Last Sunday (October 12), another police patrol did the rounds in the town. And the photo above was taken on Tuesday: a morning patrol along the High Street.

The action could well be due to the intervention of Amber Rudd, the town’s MP. Earlier this month she wrote to Rye’s Cllr Granville Bantick to say that two constituents came to her Rye surgery to raise their “deep concerns” over an incident in August when two fire engines were unable to access the Hope Anchor Hotel in Watchbell Street because of illegally parked vehicles – Rye News had an exclusive photo of one of those incidents.

“One of my constituents raised the very valid point of a lot of people having flying freehold in this location, so houses are linked on different floors, and do not have separate walls down to the ground. In such circumstances, fire can naturally spread very easily,” Rudd wrote.

“Certainly the narrowness of Rye’s streets makes compliance with parking enforcement crucial, yet very little if any enforcement in recent times has led to people parking wherever they wish with impunity.

“I have therefore written to Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, to Rupert Clubb, director of transport at East Sussex County Council, and to Malcolm Johnston, executive director of resources, Rother District Council, to ask each one to consider making a contribution towards funding a traffic warden.” Perhaps this letter sparked  the recent police presence and spate of parking fines.

The MP’s office responded to a query from Rye News: “As you note, Amber did write to those people previously listed at the beginning of the month and it would seem a logical conclusion to draw that this recent blitz is as a result of her involvement. With regards to the funding, we have at this time only heard back from Rother District Council who stated that they have passed the request to the Safer Rother Partnership and we are still awaiting their response. Please be assured that Amber is very much aware of how important these issues are to the people of Rye and we will continue to push for increased enforcement and the funding of a traffic warden.”

The parking issue led to a call by Bantick at Monday’s policy, resources and general purposes committee to appoint a community warden to encourage responsible street parking. The warden would have no powers to fine and the mayor believed that, as soon as this word spread, it would prove to be a short-lived experiment.

Speaking from the public benches, Anthony Kimber countered that he felt the idea had legs. At the weekend he had visited Chichester and spoken with a well-built, 6ft-plus warden doing the same job description; the experiment there was enjoying some success. If the warden met with problems he called on police support.

Councillors decided to seek talks with local parishes and towns to consider the possibility of sharing the cost and services of a community traffic warden.

Parking concession

Gibbet Marsh long stay car park, off Udimore Road, Rye, is seen as a potential area for Rye residents and traders to have concessionary or free parking. Currently, it is a pay and display parking zone. Parking there costs £1.50 for up to 2 hours, £3 for more than two hours. Rye councillors decided this week to approach Rother about the possibility of such a scheme.

Photo: Tony Nunn