Traffic chaos in Rye reached another level when a public bench had to be removed to free a lorry which was stuck in the High Street after being obstructed by an illegally parked vehicle.
It happened just days after illegally parked vehicles blocked fire appliances responding to a call at Watchbell Street.
The problem heightens the growing need for traffic control in Rye - a problem which could be addressed by community traffic wardens says Cllr Granville Bantick, who chairs Rye’s Highways Forum.
The recent chaos was caused when a building supplies lorry tried to turn left into the High Street from Lion Street, but found its path blocked by a vehicle parked on the tight corner on double yellow lines.
Resident Nick Taylor, who has been campaigning for traffic calming measures for over a year, said: “This happens most weekday mornings.
“The only way that this lorry was able to eventually get round the car was by the driver physically removing the bench outside Grammar School Records so he could drive up onto the pavement right up close to the buildings.
“Whilst the lorry was reversing back towards the window of Bennetts pedestrians were walking directly behind the vehicle.”
Commenting on the fire engines being blocked, Mr Taylor said: “A fire in the citadel has the potential to spread extremely rapidly because the majority of the buildings are timber framed and in very close proximity to each other if not actually joined together.
“Any delay in responding to such an incident by the emergency services could have catastrophic consequences.”
Cllr Bantick raised the idea of community wardens following a meeting with Rother police chief Warren Franklin.
He said: “For some time now the Rye Highways Forum has been exploring better ways of managing traffic in the town in the absence of having the police or a dedicated traffic warden to control parking.
“Bearing in mind the costs involved with having enforcement by a traffic warden or the police, and the lack of any likely progress being made in the near future by Rother District Council in any Civil Parking Enforcement Plan, the Chief Inspector considered a different approach should be considered. “This was to employ a Community Warden paid for by Rye Town Council, if agreed, with a grant sought from the Safer Rother Partnership.
“The Community Warden would have a uniform denoting his or her authority, and paid for whatever hours and days in the week are agreed by Council.
The position might likely attract a retired person who would be pleased to have the opportunity to earn a little extra money.
“The Community Warden’s prime responsibility would be to remind motorists who have parked illegally, or overrun their time, to move on. It might be agreed for a notice from Rye Town Council to be placed on a vehicle’s windscreen drawing attention to the offence, for which action would be taken for a repeat offence. Obviously it would be necessary for the Community Warden to work closely with the police in such cases.
“There would be many advantages. Firstly, the Community Warden would be visible to the public, and link into local commerce by talking to shopkeepers and giving them reassurance. Secondly, the Community Warden could be given the task to tackle low-level crime and anti-social behaviour, and pass on intelligence and information to the police and local authorities.”
The Highways Forum is set to debate the matter further while Cllr Mary Smith called for a public meeting to address concerns in the short-term.
She said: “People know there is no enforcement in Rye and park where they want.”