Parking fees having a negative impact

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A FREQUENT visitor to Battle (travelling from Fairlight), who having paid for a two hour parking stay, returned to their car just fifteen minutes late – the result, an £80 penalty charge.

During this slightly extended stay they had spent over £40 in various High Street shops.

You won’t be surprised to hear that they aren’t planning to visit Battle any time soon to spend more money.

Elsewhere in the town, woe betide anyone who wants to quickly nip into in the market square shops for a few essentials – you will get a stern wheel clamp “frightener” notice left on your windscreen, with the sinister big-brother warning that your vehicle registration has been noted.

Unfortunately the experience both of those visiting Battle and its residents is that the town is parking unfriendly...and that’s before the charges have been increased!

We all know the pressure councils around the country are under to balance budgets in these challenging times, but there is a false economy going on here. In London the figures maybe a lot bigger but the issue is just the same.

Westminster Council is planning to introduce evening charges (sound familiar?) to raise revenue under the guise of reducing congestion.

West End businesses are up-in-arms citing a respected independent study that forecasts every £1 raised by the council will result in a £10 reduction to local trade.

The response from Westminster Council is that “it’s too difficult to predict” the economic impact.

This head-in-sand state of denial is repeated by the bean-counters at Rother District Council (RDC), who tax Battle without any regard for the effect on local trade.

The evidence is clear, parking charges are already having a negative impact on Battle’s economy and increasing them will make things a lot worse...RDC take note!

Clive Bishop

Asten Fields, Battle