Little Common traders plea to council to ‘Save Our Village’

Little Common Car Park SUS-170805-122708001
Little Common Car Park SUS-170805-122708001

A petition is urging the council to scrap car parking charges in Little Common, claiming it is harming businesses in the village.

The petition was set up by the Little Common & Cooden Business Association which wants Rother District Council (RDC) to review its policy of charging visitors to park, claiming the fees are driving shoppers away.

Little Common Car Park SUS-170805-122624001

Little Common Car Park SUS-170805-122624001

Darren Bush, vice chairman of the association, has lived in Little Common for 22 years.

He said the village has seen a decline since parking charges were introduced three years ago.

Mr Bush, a builder, said: “The village had been doing really well and for the last three years there has been a gradual decline.

“In the last year it’s started to decline faster.

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122723001

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122723001

“If you ask anyone in the village they will tell you it’s down to the car park charges. People are not going in to the car park.”

He added: “This last financial year we have lost four businesses in the village and they are big businesses.

“It’s getting to a critical point.”

A previous Freedom of Information request showed that Rother made £10,688 from the car park in the 2014/15 financial year, before running costs were deducted.

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122808001

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122808001

Mr Bush said: “Compared to what it’s doing to the village, it’s pointless. To me, it’s fundamentally wrong.”

Visitors who do decide to come to Little Common, but don’t want to pay the car park fees, instead choose to park on Birkdale, which poses its own problems.

Mr Bush said: “It’s busy during school times, but it never used to be busy out of school times.

“It’s only a matter of time before a child gets knocked over because of the way it’s gone.”

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122755001

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122755001

The petition has around 300 signatures and is gathering momentum.

To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/rother-district-council-save-our-village-make-the-car-park-free

An RDC spokesman said: “Charging for parking at Little Common car park was introduced in 2014 following a review of parking in the district carried out by a cross-party working group.

“Around 14,000 vehicles a year use the car park, paying just £1 for four hours’ parking.

“Charging has allowed for greater turnover of vehicles meaning shoppers and other visitors to the village always have somewhere to park.

“We welcome petitions from residents and will consider this petition when we receive it and respond to the petitioners in due course.”

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122740001

Empty shops, Little Common. SUS-170805-122740001