Potential parking problems

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A sight not seen much since the police have removed themselves from any serious attempt to help resolve the problem

The following letter on CPE was recently sent to Cllr Keith Glazier at ESCC:

Regarding Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) in Rye, it is accepted that this is inevitable since the Police have totally withdrawn from Rye over the past 3 years and refused to enforce parking restrictions even though it remains their responsibility until decriminalised. It is, though, a mistake to confuse support for CPE as being anything other than the need to stop irresponsible anti-social parking. We currently pay for a service we are not receiving – there is no overwhelming desire to pay for something twice!

Since the fine detail of CPE for Rye, having been made public in only November 2018 by post and an exhibition at Rye Town Hall, the business community, residents and town councillors have expressed their concerns about its impact on the High Street.

ESCC received a business petition with 50 signatories shortly after the end of informal consultation in January 2019 and again sent to you by Amber Rudd MP on July 19, 2019. The business petition asked that consideration be given to amending some of the proposals and that an overall review of parking both on-street and off-street takes place before CPE is introduced. Clearly ESCC and RDC have a working relationship as you have frequently stated that you are ‘only doing what RDC asked you (ESCC) to do’ i.e. introduce CPE.

Given the working relationship you have with RDC it is surprising and disappointing that an overall review of parking has not taken place before an application for CPE was made to the DoT as you say in your email of August 12 ‘you have been aware parking in Rye has been a problem for many years’ .

The documents posted out re: CPE for Rye at the start of the informal consultation could be seen as incorrect and misleading to the public, in particular the map showing the ‘current timings’ and would appear to highlight the lack of knowledge and cavalier attitude given to the matter by ESCC officers.

You have stated on numerous occasions, and in your recent email, that RDC asked ESCC to implement CPE on the current restrictions. This ESCC are failing to do, despite the fact that if this were the case, ‘the current timings in their entirety’ , it would likely be acceptable and make your parking policy, in this respect, proportionate and go a long way as not to undermine the vitality of our High Street. The timings we currently have were perfectly able to be managed by the past traffic warden for Rye.

ESCC have set the timetable for all aspects of CPE and as far back as December 10, 2018, in Rye Town Council minutes C12 you say: ‘It is too late to halt the process’ (referring to my comment ‘in your view’) this is even before the end of the informal consultation or any responses and concerns have even been received by ESCC. Again in your July email to Amber Rudd you state: ‘At this stage of the process (CPE Rye) we are unable to make any further changes’. Between December 2018 to July 2019 there were seven months to consider the Rye business petition and public concerns raised.

The business community in Rye fully understand and support the concerns raised by Cllr David Tutt, leader of Eastbourne Borough Council (Southeast News TV report August 10 2019) as to the consequences of the ‘in denial’ approach by ESCC to ‘on street parking’ and impact it will have on high streets. Nationally, local authorities are implementing or enhancing the ‘free parking offering’ in towns to help support the High Street in line with current thinking at Government level.

ESCC are taking the opposite approach and propose to remove the ‘one hour free allocation’ in our High Street (Rye) that benefits the whole community and are in danger of being seen as the Scrooge Council of the South East.

David Nixon
Rye Chamber of Commerce

Image Credits: Gerard Reilly .

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