Gibbet Marsh revisited

A nearly empty Gibbet Marsh car park on a Sunday afternoon

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 .


  1. I think the Rye News reporter has ‘jumped the gun’ somewhat on this report , the Scrutiny Committee meeting has not yet taken place , so no decision has been made . Depending upon that decision the item then has to go to Cabinet and then Full Council.
    Paul Osborne
    Chairman of Overview Scrutiny Committee

  2. Paul, will my question be considered? Reducing the cost of the permit might encourage other residents to use it rather than on street parking.

    Every year our permits go up by 10% to 13% which seems unfair.

  3. I think Steve’s comment that the cost of the permits definitely need to be looked into. There are many residents who park elsewhere because of the high cost. Reducing the price would definitely encourage others to get a permit. The cost of the permit has more than doubled since we started paying for one, and I’m sure our wages haven’t increased by that much.

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong , the cost of a season ticket is £323 per annum , that works out at 88p a day. I would agree that £323 is a fair lump of cash to lay out in one go , we were told and we requested that easy payment schemes ie monthly or quarterly payments can be made. I will ask the question on Monday evening with regard to the annual charge.

    • Paul, thank you. Yes it’s £323 a year which must equate to the daily cost? Surely a reduction would mean a reduction in residents permits? I also think that other locals may use it rather then blocking up nearby streets or parking on a single yellow if the permit cost was reduced.

  5. The parking in Rye is a complete joke, if your unfortunate to have a blue badge,you can park in the bays on the street 24/7, why one must ask, because we have two councils clueless to work together, no wonder military road,tilling green, and kings avenue, are cluttered up with other peoples cars.and carparks like Gibbetts marsh, are half empty each day.

    • John, for once I agree with you! A lot of people who work in the town use Military Road etc to park but if a permit is over £300, they are not going to be persuaded to park on Gibbet Marsh.

  6. Parking is a concern raised by many people who have been in contact with me recently. Whether it’s parking for residents, shopkeepers or visitors. And of course, people are concerned about the cost of parking, illegal parking and enforcement.

    The situation is complicated by split responsibility and lack of coordination between Rother District Council (off street parking) and East Sussex County Council (on street parking).

    Perhaps it might help if there was someone ( elected to both councils; who is committed to the priorities of local people and who has many years experience of bringing disparate views together?

    • This comes across as blatant electioneering using the most tenuous of links. Should Rye News be used in this way?

      • Dear Cecilia,

        I am sorry my contribution did not meet with your approval.

        My dictionary says “Electioneer (verb): take part actively and energetically in a campaign to be elected to public office.” Yes, that’s exactly what I am doing. It’s what election candidates do at election time.

        I’m also intrigued to know what is tenuous about a prospective councillor offering to work on council matters if elected?

        Best wishes,


  7. Yes, Cecilia, I think it should. It’s effectively the Parish Noticeboard.
    How can RN remain connected and credible and relevant if it doesn’t reflect the currants of opinion in our community? Ash Madden or Carl Maynard or whomever can stand in the High St and canvass, or go door to door. They might as well try to connect with electors here too. I can’t think of a part of our lives that politics doesn’t touch, so why should it be absent here?

    • All the candidates have been offered ample coverage of their politics, promises and aspirations in a dedicated article. I just feel Mr Madden shouldn’t be using other articles as Vote For Me opportunities.

  8. Introducing ‘paid for parking’ in one area has always generated parked car migration to the nearest ‘free to park area. The outcome is that ‘to solve a parking problem’ the free to park area then in turn become a ‘pay to park zone’. The outcome is that the owners of vehicles then ‘migrate’ their parking to the next free to park zone; only this time you have a lot more owners of vehicles searching for a place to park for free. Over the years i have seen cash strapped councils using parking charges as a revenue generator, with the lets walk or cycle councillors trying their best to ban motorised transport from the roads. As chair of a London based Residents Association I met a lot of councillors….

    • Hi John,

      This issue of parking displacement (or migration as you put it) is indeed a problem. We also have the problem of residents without affordable parking anywhere near their own homes and the prospect of shoppers being deterred from visiting or (possibly worse) being fined for a brief visit to pick up essentials. I lived in South West London for 16 years where the density of people and cars was much higher but I think there are lessons we can learn from how the competing pressures on parking can be handled effectively elsewhere.

      If elected, I’d certainly support affordable resident parking zones and short stay zones for shoppers. But I’d consult with all interested parties, evaluate all the evidence and the options.


  9. Rye should look to the lovely city of Ely in Cambridgeshire, where all parking is free (at least it was the last time I went there). I suppose the argument against this is that it might cause overcrowding. Councils all over the country seem hell-bent on demanding hefty parking charges, much to the detriment of local businesses. I think that local residents should be granted free parking.

  10. Having been a labour supporter in the past,i haven’t been smitten on them over the past few years, but all Ash madden is doing,is setting his stall out if he was to be elected,nothing wrong with that,and all the other candidates could also do the same,if they wish to represent the town,and i admire him for his effort.

  11. Agree, John. Moreover, we have a candidate making himself available (presumably?) to electors to be questioned on this thread. That’s good, open democracy. Let’s get asking!

    Re parking, one of the problems faced by Rye, quite apart from visitors’ cars, is the number of cars owned by locals. We, as a family, are as guilty as any, as we have two when perhaps we only need one. Certainly with the advent of more home working, I suspect we’ll divest ourselves of one at some point. Others families who still have to perhaps commute to Ashford station or to a place of employment, who have school runs and care responsibilities, probably don’t have the opportunity of running one car. Travelling into Rye down Udimore Rd, the chicaning in and out of parked cars on the hill at Cadborough Cliff, is a clear expression of this vehicle overload. Having walkable or ‘cycle-able’ employment opportunities for young families within the local area might alleviate some pressure on the roads, but this is probably a long term aspiration. There’s no easy fix for transport and logistics in a medieval town. In all seriousness, one wonders if a satellite visitor car park with a fast link to the town might one day be considered. Very much as we have at airport terminals. “It’s all money!”, I hear you cry…

    • Thank you GH. Yes, I’m available to discuss this and any other topic which is of concern to local people. I’m busy during the daytime knocking on doors and telephoning people to understand their views so I may not be able to respond immediately but I will reply to all messages. You can reach me on 07717 709772 (call, text or Signal) or


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