Let’s have free Saturday parking

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A letter to the chief executive of Rother District Council:

I WRITE on behalf of traders and businesses on Battle High Street in response to recent press coverage of your intention to revise parking charges in Battle.

I strongly urge you to abandon any plans to:

l Axe the one-hour parking bracket

l Implement overnight charges

l Rescind free Christmas parking

Recent parking charge hikes have already reduced the numbers of visitors to the town and I suggest you visit what should be a vibrant commercial centre any Saturday morning or afternoon to see for yourself the effects.

Our customers have already expressed to us their displeasure at current parking charges and their new affiliation to Bexhill as an alternative destination due to the availability of free parking.

To implement these proposed changes now will have a detrimental effect on trade at a time when independent businesses are already struggling to cope with the effects of the economic climate.

Furthermore, following discussions regarding your proposals with several traders over the past few days, I can also confirm many are already considering their positions regarding the renewal of their leases and researching alternative locations for their businesses.

I am sure you will agree that even more empty premises on our High Street will not benefit the remaining businesses, the public or RDC itself which will suffer reduced revenue as a result.

May I suggest you alternatively consider positive proposals to assist businesses in Battle and these could include:

l Free parking on Saturdays – already adopted and hugely successful in Epping

l One hours’ free parking each weekday

l Pay on exit system to prevent visitors accelerating their departure from the town when their ticket is running out

l Consistency across Rother towns with regard to parking charges so as not to favour one at significant cost to others

The reality of the situation in Battle is very far removed from the council’s perception of it being a thriving tourist town.

Rother DC is now considering plans which could tip many businesses over the edge but also has the power to make a real change for the better in Battle.

I urge you to consider the consequences of your plans very carefully and to seek alternative methods of raising the monies you require, without disastrous consequences for independent businesses in Battle.

Due to public concern and interest in this matter, I am copying this letter to the Battle Observer.

PAUL BENNETT

Battle Interiors

High Street

Battle