New charges for several Bexhill car parks agreed

Free car parks in Rother are set to introduce charges, after proposals were given the go ahead by council leaders. 

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 10:42 am
Top car park Galley Hill in Bexhill. SUS-200109-155312001

On Monday (September 7), Rother District Council’s cabinet approved proposals to introduce parking charges at eight off-street car parks – mostly in Bexhill – which are currently free to use. 

The proposals are intended to coincide with East Sussex County Council introducing on-street parking charges around Rother later this month.

Cllr Kathryn Field (Lib Dem), cabinet member for environmental management, said: “We can’t underestimate the enormous change which residents, particularly in Bexhill, are going to find with the joint introduction of civil parking enforcement and on-street car parking charging and the car park charges we are going to propose.

“There will be displaced car parking from people trying to avoid paying for on-street car parking [and] diving into our council’s off-street car parks.

“We do need to find some way of discouraging that and I do think charging is the right way to go.”

Seven of the eight car parks to introduce charges are in Bexhill. They include the car parks at Egerton Park and Manor Gardens and the two car parks at the top and bottom of Galley Hill. 

Charges will also be introduced at the parking spaces at the Polegrove and Richmond Road as well as those in front of the war memorial. 

Charges will also be introduced for parking outside of the town hall, but this would only be at weekends and bank holidays.

The final free car park to introduce charges will be at the Cricket Salts in Rye. 

As part of the wider proposals, charges currently in place at the Eversley Road and Wainswright Road car parks to bring them into line with the new charges elsewhere.

All the car parks will charge £1 per hour.

During the meeting, particular concerns were raised about the introduction of parking charges to the Manor Gardens car park by Old Town ward councillor Chris Madeley (Independent).

She said: “I would request that this car park be removed from this evening’s discussion so a proper public consultation can be conducted.

“This car park is a vital community resource for Old Town residents, diverse small businesses, the doctor’s surgery, dental practice, Manor Barn function rooms, St Peter’s Church and the community centre.”

A similar argument was made by council chairman Brian Drayson (Independent).

Cllr Madeley went on to raise concerns that the car park come begin being used by coaches as result of the charges.

Officers, however, said this was not probable and coaches would more than likely continue using the Wainswright Road car park.

Officers also warned that the lack of charges could see the Manor Gardens car park take on the displaced car parking from elsewhere. This could make it harder to park there than present.

Cabinet ultimately decided not to remove the Manor Gardens car park from the wider proposals.

But Cllr Field said the charges would initially be introduced on a temporary basis with a review of the scheme set to take place once the on the ground impact of parking restrictions was understood. 

Cllr Field said: “What I am going to suggest, and I hope you will agree with me, is that we give this six months, because in six months time we will have seen civil parking enforcement and this charging scheme operating in tandem. 

“I then believe that it really must go to scrutiny [committee] so that the policy can be looked at in detail, its effects measured and any fine tuning that is required can be brought back to cabinet for a discussion. 

“Clearly this is not the final shape of parking charges within the district because  problems emerge as you are doing these things. You think you have thought of everything, but you never have.”

As part of the proposals, residents will also be able to purchase permits to park in the off-street car parks.

Permits will be offered, in a priority order, to; local disabled residents; local residents; business owners; then finally to other people who live within a quarter mile radius of the car parks.

The introduction of equipment and signage is expected to cost around £47,500.

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