It is interesting that a number of shop owners are concerned about the parking in the town.
With much discussion about wardens, controls and police, surely these are a negative approach to the problem.
The car is only the replacement for the horse and trap, so why not accommodate it. In the days of the horse there were mews with stables in the town centre to take the ‘traffic’ of the shops.
To reduce the lose of business within the town, space has to be found for the motor ‘horse’, So Bexhill can retain its unique identity, without penalty.
Most of the town shops are based in former houses with gardens and cellars which have restricted business use.
To be positive the following could be considered. Make the gardens where possible into access roads for goods delivery from former mews access. This requires the will and cooperation from the businesses. Make the shop private forecourts over cellars into adopted highways, so the surfaces can be one-piece, not a jumble of various materials and levels, see undulations by bus stop in Devonshire road for example.
Make a car park over the railway line as proposed by the late Alderman Jack Baker.
This would bring the shops north of the railway into more prominent and less cut-off. Giving the station more protected from the weather. ‘Blow holes’ for steam trains are of a past era.
What about car cleaning businesses extending their services by ‘stabling’ cars. Offering their customer a ‘tuk-tuk’ or trishaw (in the summer) ride to the town centre. Customers call for their tuk-tuk taxi by mobile phone for the return. The old mews idea in a modern guise.
Service with a smile, instead of racing against a penalty meter/warden, which spoils a visit to town.
Of course there will be costs, but for Bexhill businesses to compete with out of town stores and the Internet they have to offer even more, personal service encouraging people into a town with free parking. This means investing or going out of business.
In 2014 Rother District Council estimated they would receive 2.4 million pounds in community Infrastructure levy per annum, which should help. The difficulty is getting all to sing from the same song sheet.
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