Parking detail poses headaches

Parking pay and display machine in Hastings Old Town

With the introduction of parking controls at some point possibly this year, Rye News took the opportunity to investigate where the pay and display ticket machines are going to be located.

While the exact location is hard to assess from the map provided by East Sussex County Council (ESCC), in total 13 pay and display machines are expected to appear around Rye. For the purpose of this article we borrowed an apparently abandoned traffic cone to indicate roughly in the photographs where we think they will be located.

While the size of the machines has yet to be confirmed, areas with controlled parking within East Sussex all use similar models, pictured above in Hastings Old Town. You’ll notice that unlike any of those proposed in Rye, this pay and display ticket machine in Hastings has been located in the road because the pavement was too narrow.

It is unsure if ESCC are considering this approach in Rye bearing in mind our pavements are just as narrow and in most of the cases the parking machines will obstruct pedestrians going about their daily chores. In addition, it is not clear how the machines will be powered, whether solely through solar or by running a power supply.

We’ll now take a tour around the town to explore the proposed locations, starting with the three set to appear on the High Street.

High Street outside Purdie Gallery

High Street – outside the Purdie Gallery: of all the thirteen machines this could prove the most problematic. ESCC are suggesting that it’s located in front of Purdie Gallery’s window. Not only is this on the north side of the street, so raises the question on how the solar panel “cap” will get enough sunlight to power the machine, but it is also by a hidden drain and utilities set into the pavement. At nearly six feet high it will cover the window and be an eyesore in front of a historic property.

High Street next door to Ashbee’s

High Street – outside Ashbee’s: like the pay and display machine outside Purdie Gallery, this is also on the north side of the road and will get very little sunlight to power the solar cap. It will be up against a historic property that will make maintaining the building difficult. Again, the pavement is narrow and there are utilities set into the pavement. This parking machine is also located next to what is a residential bay window.

High Street outside the Rye Bookshop

High Street – outside the Rye Bookshop: like all of the High Street, the pavement is narrow and it will be difficult to maintain this historic property if the pay and display machine is located up against the shop. There is also a covered drain and utilities set into the pavement and, like Purdie Gallery, the machine will obscure the shop window and anything displayed in it.

The Mint

The Mint – outside Bank Chambers: this ticket machine will be up against a historic building at the top of The Mint near West Street. It is however located on a section of pavement that is wider than the three on the High Street but, like the other meters, it is located up against Bank Chambers so there will be problems getting access to maintain the building in the future. There is also a hidden drain in the pavement which would need to be avoided.

Hilders Cliff

Hilders Cliff: at the other end of the High Street a ticket machine will be located at a  narrow section of pavement on Hilders Cliff. This is a busy section of pavement as people make their way up from the Landgate and will obstruct walkers.

The Landgate

The Landgate: ESCC has proposed a parking machine on a narrow section of pavement up against the Skin Clinic. The location will make it difficult to maintain this historic property and the pavement has a hidden drain and utilities sunk into it.

Tower Street

Tower Street: unlike most of the street the pavement on this section of Tower Street is wide and ESCC seem to be proposing that it is located next to the curb and not up against a historic building. In addition it will be located next to a lamp post – which could provide the electricity to power the meter rather than relying on irregular sunshine to power the solar cap. Of all the locations in Rye, this one seems the least problematic – so why not look for similar opportunities elsewhere?

Three meters are proposed for Cinque Ports Street.

Cinque Ports Street at the entrance to the car park

Cinque Ports Street – at the entrance to Rother District Council’s car park: the location proposed is on a very narrow stretch of pavement and it’s hard to see how someone with a pram would get past it. It will also be a few metres from the adjacent car park’s ticket machine, which has different tariffs, so could easily cause confusion.

Cinque Ports Street at A Slice of Rye

Cinque Ports Street – outside A Slice of Rye: at this location the pavement is wide enough not to cause an obstruction but it will be up against the building and hinder access for future maintenance work when it is needed.

Cinque Ports Street outside St Michael’s Hospice shop

Cinque Ports Street – outside St Michael’s Hospice shop: the pavement here is very narrow and it looks like the machine is only serving three parking spaces. It will also be up against the property and the issue of hindering future maintenance work will also be an issue.

Market Road opposite the Rye Club

Market Road – behind Phillips & Stubbs estate agents: this parking machine will be located at a wide section of the pavement but will only serve approximately four parking spaces.

The Strand under ‘Jane Owen’

The Strand – under the figurehead of Jane Owen: while it’s unclear exactly where this parking machine will be located, the pavement is narrow with utilities set within it.

Wish Ward

Wish Ward – near the Pipemakers Arms: the pavement here isn’t too narrow and the location isn’t too busy. This meter will serve the three spaces along Wish Ward as well as the dozen parking spaces along Cyprus Place where it seems no machine is proposed.

Having concluded our tour, it seems several of the proposed sites present challenges of obstruction and disruption that could be easily avoided, for example by moving the machines to nearby sites where pavements are wider and where machines can be located away from buildings and by the kerbside instead.

It’s also not clear if ESCC has considered following the lead of a number of local authorities in London, such as City of Westminster who have decommissioned all their pay and display machines. Visitors wanting to park in Westminster pay using their phone – either via an app or via text.

The Rye Conservation Society (RCS) has already flagged up with ESCC officers where these alternative sites could be and they hope that a number will be reconsidered. In addition, the RCS has proposed that the number of machines and their size should be reconsidered.

A machine recently installed at a new, privately operated, car park on Winchelsea Road seems much neater and therefore potentially less intrusive than the standard issue ESCC machines we think are destined for Rye’s conservation area.

We have yet to be informed when the pay and display machines will appear in Rye but following ESCC’s planning meeting two weeks ago, we can be pretty sure they are on their way – though the Department for Transport must first grant the powers to introduce CPE in the Rother district.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .


  1. A very informative article, thank you
    How much consultation took place before this scheme was drawn up?
    What powers does Rye have to challenge these proposals?
    Your suggestion of using a scheme like that used in Westminster seems an excellent one and would avoid all the issues of placing machines in historic towns.

  2. 13 machines at £5500 – the cost quoted per machine at Camber Western Car Park – each (plus installation and signage?) give an entry price of around £75,000 before we’ve even started. Then they have to be amortised, maintained and emptied, quite apart from the policing costs (which would apply to any scheme). It would be interesting to see the numbers on this scheme.

  3. We visited a pay and display car park at a hospital, some time ago and every parking metre was disabled with a substance that prevented its use. The result was all parking fees were suspended and you could park without payment…. and the repair bill was going thousands…. I could see the outcome being that phone payments would be introduced. Fine if you are of the younger generation with a upmarket phone. What about us oldies, who only own a basic ‘pay as you go’ phone, and that we have just about mastered how to make a call or answer an incoming call. How will we be able to make a payment using this cleaver technology that costs the caller 50 pence per minute. We understand cash, you put some coins in the machine and out pops a ticket, which you put on the dashboard for all to see, unlike a receipt that electronically is floating somewhere around in space…. and the fine because you did not do everything right and somehow missed a digit out… Young people do not understand what it is like to be old and not very nimble, and need to be dropped of near the shops. I bet there is no elderly only parking bays planned.

  4. This is a great article and makes clear how changing face of Rye will look, and it’s not good.
    How many wardens (or whatever friendly name they have) will be employed to issue fines? Will they also police the yellow lines or are these in some way different to the parking bays.
    If I ran those businesses I’d be requesting a rates reduction.
    The Ashbee butchers sign was a major problem when it was removed and, I forget who, demanded it be put back. It was put back but at the cost of losing the business that had replaced the old butchers.
    In view of the fuss back then I find it astounding that a machine will be placed outside, it’s like the final insult to the owners that wanted a new business but who didn’t want an old name and were, I would say, forced to close.

  5. We are the owners of Ashbees and house next door. We purchased it in July 2019. No one has told us about this and also that there will be a meter outside our house. The window where you are saying the meter will be going is the front of our house. It is already a struggle to get out of house with kids, now people will be standing around machine trying to use it and blocking the pavement plus looking it our house where kids play. That is without making a pretty grade 2 listed building look terrible. Does anyone know who we challenge about the positioning of meter? Surely they should have notified us? Thanks

  6. In reply to Justin, the informal consultation on Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) was publicised by Rother in December 2018 which indicated the locations of the proposed pay-and-display machines including the one outside Ashbees. Rye Conservation Society responded not just on the locations but also on the size and type of machine to be used. From correspondence with Rother, it became obvious that East Sussex had a contract with one supplier, Cale Briparc, who manufacture and install the CWT compact which is used everywhere including in conservation areas, as can be seen in Hastings Old Town and Lewes.
    In August 2019 ESCC submitted the formal consultation documents which showed that they hadn’t taken a blind bit of notice of anyone. Rye Conservation Society responded in September with proposals that reduced the number of machines and suggested alternative locations. Again nothing had changed when the report was approved in January this year.
    However in the approved report there is an acknowledgement that ‘Officers will look at reducing the
    number of machines on street and ensure that they are sensitively located’. Both the Town Council and the Conservation Society are seeking to be involved in these discussions.

    Finally a few other points.
    Rother have confirmed that the enforcement of on-street parking restrictions will be carried by their current enforcement contract NSL, which will also include enforcement of double yellow line restrictions.
    They have got to make their money somewhere. And, by the way, according to Rother ‘Once the set-up costs and annual running costs of the Rother District Scheme have been paid for, all surplus monies generated is spent on transport schemes across the county’. Which probably means in Bexhill.

    As East Sussex CC & Rother are statutory authorities, the usual Listed Building restrictions do not apply.

    In the first informal consultation there were 16 P&D machines yet on the approved plans there are 13. The three that have gone astray were in Rope Walk, East Street and Market Street. Given the travel distances, I suspect they may well return.

    And finally for Bodwik, an application to remove the Ashbeee sign was refused by Rother, with strong support from within the town and then again refused on appeal.

  7. It would be a shame to spoil a pretty town like Rye with ticket machines which are expensive to purchase, instal and maintain and take up room on the narrrow pavements. A phone based system as in Westminster is surely a no-brainer: nothing to install except signs on the lamp posts with instructions and instant revenue collection via a credit or debit card. My hunch is that it will be much cheaper to administer. If it has not yet been considered, it ought to be; if it has been considered and rejected, can we know the reasons why? I have sympathy for people who struggle with the technology. You could overcome that by allowing local shops to sell parking tickets which could be displayed on the dashboard.

    • In the town where I currently live the on-street parking is charged via tickets that can be purchased in local stops. The town is ‘zoned’ with different charges applied, depending on location, with the central area being rated highest. The tickets can be purchased singly or in bulk and in advance and used as and when required, so there is no need to have to buy a ticket each time. The tickets are in scratch-card format, so you only have to activate it at the time it is needed.

      The only street furniture required is a small sign attached to a wall, lamp-post, etc. so it is not at all intrusive and capital expenditure on the machines is avoided. Another benefit is the small commission that shops receive from the sale of these tickets. What a wonderful way to get potential customers through the door!

  8. Was visiting Rye 2day. Go regularly as live just 4 miles away. Was v surprised to find that coins no longer accepted in parking machines. Whose bright idea was this? What happens if phone has no signal or run out of battery when using the new phone system to pay? Utter rubbish. Why does everything have to be so absolutely hip hop & happening. Business will suffer no doubt. I for one won’t be frequenting as often

  9. I do appreciate that not everyone has a smart phone and that is their right, if a council impose parking restrictions on much needed tourist then surely they have an obligation to make sure that visitors can park using all paying methods.
    Having said that I do have the app that allows you to park in council parking areas, once set up it takes seconds to pay, it tells you how busy an area you may want to visit is and a map of where it is, an hour on Bexhill sea front cost me 60 pence
    Technology marches on and eventually we will have to move with it.
    Didn’t someone say that mobiles phones are ok but they won’t catch on.

  10. If you drive in London you pay the Congestion Charge. There’s also now the payment for the Low Emission Zone. You pay in advance or on the same day. You also now have 3 days AFTER travel to pay the daily charge. You pay online, you pay by phone. You do NOT pay at a meter. Tony Edwards is correct, not everyone has a smart phone, but everyone does have a phone of some sort, a landline and Pay-As-You-Go are fine. And there are few people who do not use a computer and cannot pay online. John Cooper mentions buying tickets from shops where he lives, an excellent option. Again, in London you can buy tickets for your bus journey in 1000’s of convenience stores. London buses are cashless. There is no need for these UGLY machines destroying historic towns. The only people who want these machines are the people making money out of them. Visitors come to Rye to admire the historic nature of the place and admire the architecture. I have no doubt that the people who support these machines would accept one outside their home, they probably don’t even live in Rye. STOP destroying Rye with ugly modern machines when there are alternative methods of payment !

  11. When I looked at one of the machines on the High Street today there was a prominent contactless pad. Thus, if you have a debit or credit card with a contactless feature (surely nearly all of them these days), then there is no need for a smart phone or cash.

  12. I am rather puzzled by the comment about no cash – I parked on Cinque Port St yesterday and used cash to pay for my parking ticket.


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