Rye looks ready to join Battle in parking fight

RYE Town Council looks set to join Battle in its fight against ‘grossly unfair’ car parking charges.

Last week Battle Town Council and Battle Chamber of Commerce revealed that they had joined forces to tackle Rother District Council over the charges, which they say are having an adverse effect on trade in the town.

Cllr Clive Bishop, an outspoken critic of RDC’s car parking charges, claims that relative to its size, Battle is contributing 10 times more than Bexhill in parking revenue, with Rye suffering the same inequality.

Campaigners are calling for a ‘rebalancing’ of parking charges across the district to achieve a fairer apportionment.

This week, Rye Town Council indicated that it would be willing to join Battle in its quest for a fairer deal.

Richard Farhall, clerk of Rye Town Council, told the Observer: “The surpluses generated from RDC’s car parks in Rye should benefit the town to a greater extent.

“Rother’s criteria for devolving services to parish/town councils are inflexible and weighted in its favour.

“Rye has more private sector car parking spaces than Battle and it would make more commercial sense for Rother to reduce its Rye car park charges to more competitive levels in order to attract more users.”

But Rother insists that its parking charges take into account the differences between the urban and rural areas in the district.

A spokesperson for Rother District Council said: “Differences in the pricing structures and operating times between Bexhill and the rural towns of Battle and Rye already exist.

“The proposed new parking tariffs also recognise the different demand for parking in car parks within the district.

“The new pricing structure was recommended to Cabinet by a cross-party councillor working group, which represents urban and rural areas of the district.

“The group was set up two years ago to review and monitor parking charges and usage.

“The working group will continue to review parking charges across the district.

“Current austerity measures mean we face serious financial challenges and Central Government expects local authorities to maximise their income from local sources.”

Battle Chamber of Commerce is due to discuss its own parking proposals to put before Rother shortly.