Solving cashpoint corner

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Cars parking on the pavement in West Street corner

One of Rye’s major parking problems was discussed at a recent meeting of the Highways Forum and East Sussex Highways Department officer Brian Banks was expected to review the options and report back, but nothing has been heard yet. Andrew Bamji reports on the options considered.

Parking problems in Rye are numerous, but a major issue is the short-term parking by users of the bank cashpoints in the High Street as there are three within ten yards, belonging to Barclays, NatWest (both situated in the High Street) and Lloyds (in West Street).

Users park either on the double yellow lines in the High Street (which often causes problems for vehicles attempting to enter or leave West Street) or in West Street itself. As this is too narrow for vehicles to pass, users park on the pavements causing damage, by loosening the paving slabs, and obstruct the footpaths.

Further damage results from cars trying to pass parked vehicles, as they have to mount the kerb and drive on the pavements – and a high vehicle has scraped the bay window of the “Santa Maria”, the first house in West Street on the west side.

One trade vehicle trying to exit West Street clipped a car parked on double yellow lines in the High Street and was found liable in the insurance claim. While as far as I know there have been no accidents suffered by people forced into the road to walk on the cobbles, there have been several injuries as a result of loose paving slabs, and in at least one case damages have been sought from East Sussex County Council (ESCC).

Options:

  1. Place bollards on the existing pavement
  2. Place a rising bollard in the road. This would necessitate supply of codes to all with a right to access (West Street, Mermaid Street, Church Square) which would include residents and tradesmen; it would also require excavation of the (listed) cobbles and an electrical supply.
  3. Apply pavement double yellow lines from the High Street up to the NatWest car park, on both sides of the road, to indicate “No parking at any time for any vehicle”
  4. Close the bottom of West Street.
  5. Lay an extended pavement into the High Street outside the NatWest bank and install a bollard on the corner, at the same time making West Street one way from South to North (down hill).
  6. Keep the status quo but strengthen the pavement to roadway standards, on the basis that vehicles will continue to park on it but the risk of loosening paviours would be reduced

My comments on each of these options are:

  1. These would have to be placed on both sides of the road, and would have the effect of forcing parked cars to stop further up West Street. It would not change the pattern of parking in the High Street. In any event the pavement is not wide enough for installation of bollards to meet Highways requirements
  2. Prohibitive cost. It would also be a problem if vehicles without permits/codes came down West Street from Mermaid Street and got stuck; they would have to reverse back
  3. A cheap option, but without enforcement it would be widely ignored
  4. Vehicles trying to access houses between the High Street and Mermaid Street would have to drive in from Mermaid Street and then reverse out, as there is no room to turn. Both options 3 and 4 would put properties at risk.
  5. A pavement extension would effectively stop any vehicle trying to access West Street from the High Street – the majority of bank users. Street signage would be tidier (the current “Restricted” signs replaced by “No entry” signs, and a “No Left Turn” sign in the High Street). It would not interfere with the High Street roadway (it would not intrude further than parked cars) and would improve pavement width by the bay window of the NatWest bank. However, if larger vehicles require access to the upper part of West Street these are currently unable to turn in from Mermaid Street. Normally they come up West Street (North to South) from where they can drive straight up. Thus making West Street one-way in the “wrong” direction might cause problems for deliveries/removals/larger builders’ vehicles (though because of the tight corner of Church Square this would only be an issue for the houses in West Street). I consider the benefit outweighs the risk.
  6. The cheapest option, but it doesn’t solve the problem!

In my opinion option 5 should be explored. The only alternative is to employ a traffic warden [Editor’s note: But this has been blocked by the police unless, and until, parking is decriminalised by Rother District Council and it introduces wardens] .

I have spoken to some of the local tradespeople, who struggle to park and deliver (especially on a Thursday) and they would welcome the employment of a warden, commenting that when the town had one (indeed it had two at one stage) there was not a major problem with parking.

Photo: Rye News library

4 COMMENTS

  1. How about shifting all the ATM,s .
    Try finding a spot in or around the station approach.
    Level Ground
    Near the Bus station
    Near the Train Station
    Near short term parking
    If Spain, S Korea and Turkey (that I recall, there are more countries) use this collective approach with several bank branded ATM,s in the same room/building. Why not here?
    Although I expect we would hear another whinge from the banks about costs.
    And then some Elf n Safety ‘expert’ would come up with an excuse not to do so he/she could wave their flag and holler to the masses. ‘See we are looking after you’

  2. This is an interesting set of proposals by Dr Andrew Bamji. It touches not only on the issue of parking but also the lack of enforcement across Rye. With Sussex Police allocating its priorities elsewhere, for the latter there seems to be no solution without “de-criminalisation” of parking offences and the introduction of wardens.

    To tackle these issues sensibly there really needs to be some data to support the assertions. Do we really know the balance between those accessing the cash machines by travelling up Mermaid St and those from the High St? Does the need to access a cash machine in the High St (Barclays and Natwest) empower individuals to disregard the “authorised vehicles only” signs at the junction of the High St and West to park off the High St?

    In the context of the Neighbourhood Plan, the preferred option (5) does chime with ideas for greater one way travel in the Citadel in the Neighbourhood Plan, to reduce the amount of attempted passing in what are single track roads.

    Should “cashpoint corner” be seen in isolation? We know that traffic issues in central Rye are complex and multi faceted. Piecemeal measures could well shift the problem to elsewhere. The draft Neighbourhood Plan suggests the need for a holistic approach to traffic with all the impacts being carefully assessed.

    As an example, in the preferred option, what impact will there be for those who remain determined to drive past the cash machines as now, but know that it will not be possible to enter West St or park in the High St? Will they just re-route in larger numbers up Mermaid from the West or worse all round the Citadel via Pump St and Church Square from the East? Both these would increase traffic on the cobbled area, aggravating the existing problems with their risks to pedestrians, buildings and street furniture? Having done so, presumably they will still need to drive (and then park) illegally on the pavement at the High St end of West St?

    So, let us explore all the options but let it be in a way which considers all the probable impacts.

  3. I agree that parking is a major problem in Rye, but would point out that there appear to be a couple of major offenders – the residents who leave their cars for days/weeks on end without moving them, and their builders, who in the past would dump their materials and move their vehicles elsewhere, but now seem to leave them all day in the main streets. We need visitors in the town, and they need to obtain funds to spend! Great idea to have all cash machines nearer the station.

  4. Would it be worth carrying out some research to see exactly who are those who park in the High Street, and what they are seeking to access? What would be a reasonable maximum duration of stay? If it is, as suggested, cashpoints, then Cliff Arkley’s idea of relocating the cashpoints nearer to the station/market car park/coach park does have some merit. However, it might turn out to be something completely different – like users of the Kino (two hours minimum?) or shop staff themselves (duration of shift), in which case it would solve very little.

    It’s becoming obvious that there are simply too many vehicles coming into the High Street and this is only going to get worse, particularly as we hit tourist season. Daytime restriction on vehicle access may well be the only practical long term solution. So where will the cars go – bearing in mind that the car parks are also becoming full during the day now? We will need a far more radical answer than a couple of wardens to provide access for Hotel customers, shop customers, deliveries and essential services. The fact that the High Street is on the top of a hill doesn’t help. In essence, I would guess we need of some kind of high capacity park and ride/walk facility. One “pie in the sky” solution could be a carefully designed high capacity low-rise multi storey car park located in the vicinity of Cinque Port Street with connecting walkways to the station and the High Street. And for those – like me – that scream in terror at the thought of such a possible desecration in our little town, I would ask them to come forward with ideas. This could get interesting.

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