BATTLE business leaders and councillors have joined forces to demand an end to ‘grossly unfair’ car parking charges.
Battle Town Council and Battle Chamber of Commerce say the charges are having an adverse effect on trade in the town, especially the £1 charge for one hour of parking.
Cllr Clive Bishop, an outspoken critic of Rother District Council’s car parking charges, claims that relative to its size Battle is contributing 10 times more than Bexhill in parking revenue, adding that Rye suffered the same inequality.
Now campaigners are calling for a ‘rebalancing’ of parking charges across the Rother area to achieve a fairer apportionment, with some suggesting that Bexhill residents should be paying more for parking.
Cllr Bishop says he hopes the town’s council and chamber of commerce could join forces with their counterparts in Rye in a joint campaign.
All parties are due to meet shortly to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile Battle’s representatives on Rother District Council, Cllr Kevin Dixon and Cllr Kathryn Field, have reiterated their commitment to campaigning for the first hour’s parking to be free, to encourage local people to shop in the town.
Town council chairman Richard Bye said: “As it stands at the moment, Rye and Battle are paying ten times more.
“All the free parking is over in Bexhill - there’s virtually no free parking in Rye and Battle.
“So why is there not a distribution of parking?
“With the exception of the De La Warr Pavilion, you can park anywhere in Bexhill for free.”
He added: “We want to launch a joint action against Rother to say we want a level playing field.
“Why should we have to pay more and get nothing for it?”
Cllr Clive Bishop said: “The situation cannot continue where Battle relative to its size is paying ten times more in parking charges than Bexhill, with the resulting adverse impact on trade in the town.
“This grossly unfair situation is just as bad in Rye and so we hope to form a joint campaign between Battle and Rye to make Rother District Council see sense and rebalance its parking revenue collection fairly across the Rother area.”
Alan Deeprose, president of the Battle Chamber of Commerce, said he has already addressed members of the Rye Chamber and says they are keen to get on board.
Meanwhile the Battle Chamber is due to discuss its own parking proposals to put before Rother.
Alan said: “The reason behind getting the parking charges more evenly distributed is to encourage people to come into Battle and Rye and use the High Street.
“It is important that traders get a fair deal.”
In July London residents won a landmark High Court victory against Barnet Council when a judge ruled that parking charges could not be used as a fiscal revenue-raising measure.