Rother has no plan to take over parking enforcement

Illegal parking in Lion Street 2 SUS-140523-140545001
Illegal parking in Lion Street 2 SUS-140523-140545001

ROTHER Council has ruled out taking over parking enforcement for at least another year.

Parking in Rye remains a big issue and falls to the police and police community support workers to enforce.

Rother is one of the few authorities in the whole country not to take responsibility for parking charges and enforcement.

The Department of Transport has urged authorities to take on the role.

Rye has been without a traffic warden for a number of years and there have been complaints of cars parking on pavements or abusing one hour parking spaces by staying all day.

Rother police chief Inspector Warren Franklin appealed to Rother to take responsibility for enforcing parking.

He said keeping tabs on parking is not a priority for local officers who have found themselves spread more thinly in recent months due to government funding cuts.

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

Rother confirmed it has no plans to push forward with decriminalisation of parking.

Council leader Carl Maynard revealed that it is unlikely to even 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 whole area and would also have to be introduced in every town and village.

He added that 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 parked their car.

Cllr Maynard argued that towns with a unique shopping experience such as Rye and Battle could initially lose out if the changes were introduced.

He said: “Clearly there is public concern that the police are failing to enforce restrictions. But there is no quick fix.

Rother and Wealden are the only two authorities in the South East not to enforce parking and among only 17 in the whole country who rely solely on the police to enforce on street parking.

Chief Inspector Franklin said: “Police have had to fill the void of any other activity around parking enforcement.

“It is not a priority when compared to other threats such as burglaries, violent crime, theft and anti-social behaviour.”