Tuesday, September 29 saw civil parking enforcement (CPE) the new parking regime in Rye, come into play. This has been a fiercely debated topic for what seems an eternity but at last, the talking is over and the reality is it’s here and likely here to stay.
The parking machines, affectionately referred to as Daleks, are in place and functioning and give the user the choice of paying by cash or card. New restriction signs have been erected, yellow lines repainted, disabled and loading bays added and now the message is clear – illegal or inconsiderate parking will incur a fine.
I can’t remember the last time the western side of Rope Walk was clear of vehicles, traffic now passes freely and when the school coaches come along they will be able to pass with ease, delivery vans and lorries too. Ironically, when I took the photograph, the only parked vehicle was the white van which has not moved an inch since March! It will be interesting to see if this van, which although has been reported twice as abandoned (but isn’t, according to the authorities) receives a ticket, assuming the owner doesn’t intend to move it.
The cattle market car park has attracted a lot more vehicles as a result but at £2 for twenty four hours it must be one of the cheapest car parks in the county. Despite this, many drivers choose not to pay, which was evidenced by the number of yellow stickers on the drivers side window of offending vehicles. The message “Please pay to park” is displayed for all to see, surely £2 isn’t going to break the bank, is it?
Meanwhile, around town there were quite a number of blue warning notices issued to drivers who either didn’t realise or thought they would chance their luck and park for longer than allowed, the wardens who arrived on mopeds during the morning were here to do a job and they made their presence felt.
The question is, is it working? Obviously it’s early days but the resounding response so far seems to be yes. I spoke to some of the High Street traders to canvas their opinion. “To have the ability for shoppers to pop in get what they want, drive away and give someone else the same opportunity is just what’s needed to keep attracting shoppers” was the response from one local business owner. “Rye has joined the 21st century, many towns have similar parking schemes, they seem to work, why should Rye be any different?” was the response from another party. “Many of the town centre spaces were occupied by locals until now, at last, visitors now have somewhere to park, we need their business, particularly now, locals will have to pay to park like anyone else or pay the price if they don’t” was the view of one local trader.
Unusually, there were no vehicles parked on the double yellow lines at the top of Market Street (which is normally a nightmare for delivery vehicles), outside the offices of GMP in Landgate the yellow lines which normally attract vehicles (which make life very difficult for buses) were empty and around Rye generally there were plenty of empty spaces which at 9:30am in the morning is pretty unusual. Things are changing.
Change is inevitable, whether its for the better is yet to be determined, for now at least the changes seem to be having a positive effect and if local businesses benefit from more visitors and more trade then perhaps all the build up, planning and investment will have been worth it.
Image Credits: Anthony Kimber , Nick Forman .