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 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 – 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: 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 – 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: 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: 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: 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 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 – 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: 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 – 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 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 – 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 .