Rother tests parking depths

It does not take long in Rye for a queue to form - as someone parks, or is unable to park, or parks in the wrong place - so parking will always be on the local agenda

Traffic wardens may arrive on the streets of Rye as Rother District Council (RDC), under pressure from both the Government nationally and the local Police and Crime Commissioner, starts to consider whether or not to introduce Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE).

Local RD councillors have been saying for some time that there was “no appetite” for CPE , but Monday’s (November 23) RDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee stuck its toe in the water by having a presentation from East Sussex County Council (ESCC) about CPE.

Rother is one of only two councils in East Sussex that do not have CPE and only 24 councils nationally do not have CPE. The possibility of using community wardens, working with the police, has been blocked by the police themselves.

“There is an expectation from the Police and Crime Commissioner that RDC should adopt CPE”, Dr Anthony Leonard, Rother’s Executive Director of Business Operations, told the Committee, and “it may also be likely that the Government may require those authorities who do not have CPE to adopt it in the near future”.

This initial step, to investigate CPE, follows police advice that, he said, “given other police priorities and reducing resources parking enforcement is not a priority” for the police.

The police have said they will only act if (and emergency vehicles have been blocked in Rye by parked cars in the past)

  • parking issues become a safety concern
  • traffic flows are being significantly impacted or
  • anti-social behaviour is involved

Another issue in Rye, however, may highlight the problems, and push them up the agenda. Repairs to the Landgate, currently the main entrance into the High Street and the historic part of Rye, may mean the road is closed to traffic (whether temporarily or permanently). Should that happen traffic flows and parking may both be significantly affected.

However, Dr Leonard told the RDC that, “there are a number of major hurdles to pass in the application process” which can take time and may be expensive. Strong public reaction can be anticipated and he said that “public and agency expectations that CPE may or may not be introduced will need to be managed”. Rother will now consider whether any further action should be taken at this stage.

CPE is governed by Part 6 of the Traffic Management ACT 2004 and Rother can apply through ESCC to become an enforcement authority under the Act and introduce CPE if it is convinced of the business case.

Enforcement under the Act is intended to support

  •  managing the transport network to keep traffic flowing (often a problem in Rye. See picture above)
  • improving road safety
  • improving the local environment
  • improving the quality and accessibility of public transport
  • meeting the needs of people with disabilities and
  • managing and reconciling the demands for kerb space.

Photo from Rye News library