Council meetings over privatisation of traffic wardens

FEARS have been raised about possible plans to privatise on-street parking enforcement in Rye.

Rother Council is currently looking at decriminalising parking with it’s chief executive Derek Stevens holding talks with Rye area police chief Trevor Botting.

But Rye councillors say that a balance will have to be struck to protect tourism and the livelihood of Rye businesses.

Cllr Mary Smith said: “We are a tourist town, working hard to keep our shops open.

“This would need to be handled very sensitively if it were a private firm working on commission.”

Currently, on street parking enforcement in Rye is handled by police officers and PCSO’s.

Commenting on the possible decriminalisation, Rye Town Clerk Richard Farhall said: “I cannot think of a another town or parish council that has done this.

“Rother has looked at it in the past but there was not the political will to go ahead with it.”

Christopher Strangeways, of Rother Environmental Group, said: “Revenue from parking fines should be reinvested in the town.”

Chief Inspector Trevor Botting, district commander for Rother, raised the issue with Rother following feedback from the Rye and Bexhill Police Panel meetings. Ch Insp Botting said: “I raised it with them as it is something I feel needs to be reviewed, discussed and consulted upon.

“If something has been one of our Neighbourhood Panel Priorities for a number of years, it needs looking at again.”

However any decision on the future of the town’s parking enforcement will be made solely by RDC.

Ch Insp Botting said: “It’s entirely a matter for the council. “We have a very good relationship with Rother and will be working very closely with them.”

RDC has confirmed it is looking at the future of on-street parking enforcement across the district, but was not currently considering introducing on-street parking charges.

Rother District Council chief executive Derek Stevens said: “In view of the many complaints we receive about the abuse of on street car parking, and the negative impact this has on retailers within our main shopping areas, officers are seeking information from both East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police with regard to civil parking enforcement.

“It must be stressed that this is not about introducing charged on street car parking, such as exists in some other East Sussex towns, but is about looking at a system which will bring about the better enforcement of on street car parking rules and regulations.

“Once all the information is to hand, officers will be reporting to councillors.” An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We have not had any discussions with Rother District Council about this recently but we will be happy to provide advice and assistance as it is needed.” Due to cuts in police funding, there are currently no dedicated traffic wardens in Rother.