At a special meeting of Rye Town Council on Monday September 16, parking, in the form of civil parking enforcement (CPE) was the only item on the agenda, with the council required to decide on whether or not to comment on the ESCC’s formal consultation.
The public gallery was fuller that usual – mainly with traders, property owners and other parties likely to be immediately affected by the new arrangements. In time allowed for public comment it was clear that neither the existing free-for-all nor the proposed changes were wanted, but no workable solution was proposed.
The main problem with CPE, the council felt, was that it was a one-size-fits-all policy which was designed around large towns such as Bexhill or Hastings, but took no account of Rye’s particular circumstances and problems.
The size of parking meters and their proposed locations were often inappropriate, particularly bearing in mind the narrowness of many pavements, and there were problems too with deliveries – the strict unloading requirements would mean many businesses would have to have goods trollied for some distance from where they were unloaded, particularly unsatisfactory for businesses such as pubs and restaurants, with heavy barrels and frozen and chilled foods to be moved.
There was also considerable concern about the knock-on effects in areas such as Love Lane, Tilling Green, Military Road and even Valley Park. All these – Military Road in particular – are already starting to see parked cars causing congestion and this would be increased dramatically if more vehicles, forced out of the town centre, were provided with nowhere else to park. Gibbets Marsh car park was very underused (and under signposted), but even if fully used, would not be large enough to hold all the displaced vehicles plus summer visitors’ cars.
The mayor reminded the council that they had originally approved, in principle, the adoption of CPE, but this was before the details of how it would be operated were known. The council were also reminded that Rye had once proposed, jointly with Battle, to employ their own wardens to enforce parking rules, but, although agreed by everyone else, that had been stymied by the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner who had refused approval, while at the same time declining to deal with the problem themselves.
A number of suggestions for a comment to ESCC were made, ranging from, “We agree, but…” to, “We want nothing to do with it”. But finally a motion, after several versions had failed, was passed which stated:
“Based on the scheme proposed for Rye, Rye Town Council is withholding its ‘in principle’ support for the introduction of civil parking enforcement (CPE) and calls on East Sussex County Council to engage with Rye Town Council in order to develop a parking enforcement strategy that addresses both the concerns of local stakeholders and the unique needs of the town.”
Sadly Rye News has to report that there was some scepticism about the degree of attention that ESCC would pay to this and that, despite the leader of East Sussex County Council, Councillor Keith Glazier, being also Rye’s elected councillor, the county council would be likely to try to ignore it.
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy , Rye News library , Gerard Reilly .