THERE was anger at Rye Town Hall this week with the council accused of ‘watering down’ a plan to solve the town’s most pressing pedestrian safety issue.
Concerns have been raised over large delivery vehicles continually parking on the pavement on narrow Lion Street and forcing pedestrians, including mums with pushchairs, out into the road.
Resident Nick Taylor says he has been trapped in his home by lorries parking so close to his door.
Rye’s Highways Forum had come up with the solution of creating a new loading bay in the High Street to alleviate the situation.
But a meeting of the full council on Monday overturned an important recommendation, from the Forum, that the bay should only be used for unloading
Instead they voted to modify the proposal with the bay being available for other vehicles to park in between 6pm and 7am.
The council is also facing accusations of putting too much emphasis on a survey of unloading movements conducted by the George Hotel, which was said to be an “unreliable snapshot” conducted on just one day of the week.
Rye county councillor Keith Glazier, who sits on the Highways Forum, said after the meeting: “What is the point of having a Highways Forum and doing all that work if it is going to be ignored?”
It was an under strength council that made the decision, with seven members absent on the night.
Nick Taylor said: “It is disappointing. I thought after a year of campaigning on the dangers this would move forward - instead it is being watered down.
“We have delivery vans on the pavement outside our house from 5am 0r 6am until 9pm and that excludes wedding vehicles using the George.
“The survey the hotel carried out is not independent.
“It is disappointing that the owners of the hotel do not turn up to public meetings to make the case themselves, rather than have secret meetings from which the public are excluded.
“Only last week we had a vehicle connected with a function at the George parked on the pavement all day.”
David Nixon, Chamber Rep to the Highways Forum, said: “It was a unanimous decision of this Forum, after in depth discussions, that to ensure its effectiveness, and to be able to have unambiguous enforcement, the bay needed to be 24/7 year round, otherwise the whole project could be a waste of tax payers money should a car be parked in the bay over night and remain there in the early morning preventing its intended use.
“Cllr Eve’s alternative schemes mirrored a proposal previously presented to the Highways Forum by The George, rejected as not workable, but subsequently voted through by RTC makes a mockery of having set up the Highways Forum and the time given to it.”