Time to think ahead

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A parking meter in Eastbourne, and these meters could be occupying our pavements soon

Rye Town Council will be discussing civil parking enforcement (CPE) again next Monday, January 27, after East Sussex County Council (ESCC) decided to press on with its plans for parking in Rye.

And our local ESCC councillor had made it clear on more than one occasion that ESCC would press on with their plans – but would review them after a year. And that is what ESCC agreed last week.

And (hopefully) on Monday we may hear from a group that has been looking ahead to how CPE can be improved – and what might be necessary in future.

Rye has a problem, but it is not unique. Any place with historic streets and housing (and shops) has people who live and work there (in addition to visitors) who have no space in their home or premises (or indeed on the adjacent road) to park.

However some do have the space (or the opportunity to convert space used for other purposes) to provide parking for themselves. And some do this, and some don’t.

And as cars get bigger, some roads do not have the width for cars to be parked on both sides – or (sometimes) on any side.

So controls are necessary and they need to be enforced (which costs money) and so the right to park has to be paid for – and it is as simple as that.

But there will always be people looking for a “free ride” so my prediction is that eventually the whole of Rye will have to be covered by parking controls with chargeable parking permits for residents alongside parking meters for visitors in places where residents should not need to park in the road.

And this is already the case in many places. Where I lived in London in Camden Town commuters often parked in residents’ drives – until they came back to find their car immobilised.

But parking permits will not be the end of it. I visited Cambridge just before Christmas and most of the historic centre is now pedestrian free with vehicle access only at certain times – though sliding bollards will allow emergency vehicles through.

And the shops were busy, there were lots of visitors, but it cost more and more (for less and less parking time) the closer you tried to park near the town centre and the colleges.

Indeed if we are to maintain the community bus service in Rye (for those without cars but with restricted mobility) we will need more controls soon in certain areas where indiscriminate, thoughtless and selfish parking is already a problem.

Image Credits: Kevin McCarthy .

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