BATTLE’S two Rother councillors have criticised the increase in parking charges which came into effect at the beginning of this month.
Lib Dems Kevin Dixon and Kathryn Field said the increases were “just another stealth tax, using our car parks to subsidise other people’s council tax.”
Increases of up to 16 per cent have been imposed by Rother in the town’s Market Square and Mount Street car parks, with the minimum charge in Mount Street now being £1, and Upper Market 70p.
The charge to park all day in Mount Street has risen to £6.60.
Cllr Dixon said: “We acknowledge the financial position Rother is in, but this is a decision made in cabinet behind closed doors with no open debate and no thought as to the implications for the town.
“To put a blanket rise across all car parks without reviewing usage, affordability or impact is negligent.
“A review has been promised, but the increases have been imposed before a date for the review has even been announced!”
Cllr Field added: “Rother should be encouraging motorists into the car parks, and encouraging high usage by giving local people concessions.
“This would be good for local businesses, good for local jobs, and good for rural regeneration.
“Residents who have to drive into Battle to work or shop are hit by ever increasing charges which are being used to subsidise the rest of Rother.
“Our car parks sit half empty, while the limited side roads and residential areas are congested causing problems for local residents.
“Battle does not have much on-street parking, and relies on its car parks much more than Bexhill.”
Speaking about Battle’s trader’s efforts to help shoppers beat the meter, Cllr Dixon said: “We welcome initiatives from Jempsons and the Chamber of Commerce to refund some parking charges for customers in the town, but Rother must play their part in setting fair and reasonable charges in the first place.”