‘No parking changes for at least one year’

PARKING decriminalisation will not be considered for introduction in Battle for at least another year.

Despite pressure from the Department for Transport, Sussex Police and local residents, Rother District Council (RDC) has no plans to take over parking enforcement from the police force.

In last week’s Observer, Rother Police’s Chief Inspector Warren Franklin appealed to RDC to join the overwhelming majority of local authorities across the UK in taking responsibility for parking enforcement.

He said keeping tabs on parking is not a priority for local officers who have found themselves spread more thinly in recent months as a result of funding cuts from central government.

He added that decriminalising parking would save “significant time and effort in terms of police resources we have not got.”

RDC last week confirmed it had no plans to push forward with decriminalisation.

This week the authority’s leader, Cllr Carl Maynard, revealed it is unlikely to make a council agenda before the 2015 local elections.

He said: “There are no plans to introduce it, but it is important to keep an open dialogue with local people.

“Next year our party will consult with locals as to what they want at the time of the election but we will not be advocating it. I think I can say with confidence that none of the main political parties will.”

He said it would be harder to implement across Rother than in towns like Hastings and Eastbourne because it would involve a far-reaching consultation across the entire area and would also have to be introduced in every town or village.

He said local councils were also under financial pressure – just like Sussex Police.

Cllr Maynard said: “If parking was decriminalised the enforcement would still have to be funded.

“Someone has to pay for it and the bottom line is the public would pay each time they park their car.”

Cllr Maynard argued there was evidence to suggest that a town with a unique shopping experience like Battle could initially lose out if the changes were introduced.

He added: “Clearly there is public concern that the police are failing to enforce restrictions.

“But there is no quick fix.”