Rother District Council (RDC) are reviewing the cost of parking in Gibbet Marsh car park in Rye to try and encourage more people to use it.
At a meeting of their Overview & Scrutiny Committee on Monday April 26 they agreed that the daily parking charge for Gibbets Marsh be reduced from £5 to £2 per day. The new charge will apply both in the summer and winter and will be applied ‘as soon as reasonably practicable to encourage use of less used out of town car parks’ their report said. Rother have also agreed to improve signage to Gibbet Marsh to encourage greater usage.
In addition, the committee recommended that the chargeable hours be brought into line across all RDC car parks ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’, with charging starting at 8am and finishing at 7pm.
The review of Rother’s car parks follows the introduction of on-street Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) by East Sussex Council in September 2020. CPE introduced a variety of restrictions to parking in Rye including charging to certain on-street parking locations, resident parking permits on certain roads, limited parking hours and enforcement of parking on double yellow lines.
Car park use reviewed
A review of how CPE was impacting their car parks was undertaken by RDC in early 2021 with a ‘call for evidence’ from town and parish councils, local businesses, community groups and sports clubs most likely to be impacted by CPE. By March 12, a total of 40 responses had been received.
The COVID-19 restrictions on peoples’ movements and the subsequent third COVID-19 lockdown from December 2020 showed a dramatic reduction in car park usage, making it impossible for Rother to assess how CPE is effecting their car parks.
During the data gathering period (November 2020-February 2021), most RDC car parks showed a year-on-year drop of visitors of between -50% and -75%. The only car parks to buck this trend were the three in Camber, where usage was up +7.5%.
In light of this, RDC will continue to monitor car park usage throughout the summer until October 2021 to provide a more accurate picture, though with the likely increase in staycations and more people visiting Rye, it could be that 2021 will pose its own challenges in car park capacity. Evidence from Rother’s monitoring will help inform a full review of CPE by East Sussex County Council, which had been planned for one year after implementation.
The report on the work of RDC’s Off-Street Car Parks Task and Finish Group (OSCPT&FG) can be found here.
Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .