I was surprised to find my letter to Rother District Councillors Lord Ampthill and Genette Stevens had become headline news in Rye News last week and rather disappointed that its contents had been erroneously described as a kind of “my top ten” of parking blackspots. This personalised what was a very matter-of-fact document and also gave the false impression that the places I had mentioned were the only problem areas around the town.
There was no such hierarchy or prioritisation in my letter: I simply described a circuit round the town centre from the easterly end of Cinque Ports Street back round to the westerly end by the junction with Market Road. The letter was prompted by an article that appeared in the Rye Observer [and also mentioned in Rye News – Ed.] stating that Rother District Council and East Sussex County Council were asking Ward representatives to submit details of problem areas. Enquiries with Rye Town Hall seemed to suggest that no case was being put forward in Rye.
My intention was to highlight some areas of which I am aware, where potentially severe and even life-threatening consequences could result from just one vehicle being left in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In my letter to the councillors I was looking to bring just some of the serious parking issues in Rye to the attention of potential decision-makers in (very) far away places who might otherwise know nothing of these matters. Such people are unlikely to have witnessed the full effect all around the town of the constant blockages by the Landgate, or the refuse trucks that are sometimes forced to drive the wrong way down the High Street or become completely stuck on a corner.
Chances are they have not witnessed the driver of one of these vehicles repeatedly trying to rip out a metal bollard from the pavement in a fit of rage at being obstructed. They may not know about the ambulance that couldn’t reach a patient suffering a cardiac arrest in the town centre. They may not know about some of the elderly and frail people who have collapsed in Market Road, trying to reach the bench there which is often obstructed by bad parking. They may or may not know about the fire engines repeatedly obstructed by parked vehicles. And so it goes on. Most people in Rye are very familiar with some of these things.
Of course any response from any one individual is likely to be partial. So it is up to everyone who is concerned about parking issues all across the town to lobby their councillors and representatives unrelentingly, again and again so that they and the decision-making organisations that they report back to can get the full picture. It is tedious and it is boring to have to keep on pointing out what’s going wrong, in sufficient detail so that those who aren’t on the ground here will understand. But maybe, just maybe, it might help produce some much-needed solutions.