RYE Rother councillor Sam Souster has called on the district council to introduce two hours free parking in its Rye car parks.
Cllr Souster says it would bring Rother in line with neighbouring Wealden Council, which offers two hours.
He claims it would also provide a boost for local businesses and raise more revenue for the district council.
Cllr Souster says Rother is losing out on parking revenue in Rye due to the high number of private car park operators.
He cites, as an example, Rother’s long-stay car park at Gibbets Marsh, which is often under used.
He said: “Jempsons Supermarket has a large car park which is free for two hours and the Railway Station car park has one charge of £2.50.
“People can park all day in the large Market car park most days for £1.50 all day.
“There are also privately operated car parks at Winchelsea Road and behind the Kettle of Fish.
“Rother only appearing to benefit from the unsuspecting tourist and a few locals on Thursdays.
“The free parking on the streets of Rye is also a matter of concern to the Chamber of Commerce because obstructions are often caused and there is little enforcement for those who exceed the time limit.
“Gibbets Marsh, the largest of RDC Car Parks, has always under-performed financially because, to gain entry, drivers think they are leaving town and have no idea of the close proximity by walking across the railway to Strand Quay.
“Direction signs have been changed, but it does not appear to have been effective.
Income during 2012 – 2013 marginally increased across the District with the exception of Rye.
“Cabinet acknowledged the parking competition in Rye at its meeting last October. As a number of RDC’s Services are shared with Wealden District Council could not their system of free parking for 2 hours be adopted, certainly in Rye, which would encourage more shoppers and assist the local economy. I would strongly recommend that this is taken up in Rye.”
Rye MP Amber Rudd is on record as saying: “I think that affordable parking is such an important issue, not only Will it mean that shoppers can park for free, it also gives a much needed boost to businesses.”
Parking has become a real issue in Rye due to the fact that the town no longer has a traffic warden and it falls on the police to enforce parking restrictions even though they are under-resourced.
The situation has led to congestion and pedestrian safety issues in the town.