From: Kathryn Field, Virgins Lane, Battle
It is understandable that your Conservative correspondent (Letters, 19 October) is not up to speed with the situation relating to Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), as he lives outside Battle so will not have received any of our Focus newsletters on the subject. He also appears to have missed the several related articles in past Observer columns, possibly pre-dating his recent interest in the issue.
When I last checked the figures, just 17 out of 330 Local Authorities across the country had failed to take the opportunity to introduce CPE. For a considerable time I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues pressed Rother to ask County to introduce CPE but Rother refused to act.
Last year with the help of around 20 Battle retailers we launched a petition calling on Rother to ask County to introduce CPE. No doubt the three Conservative candidates saw and signed the petition (I think we should be told!).
The petition received widespread support and I duly presented it to Rother. This proved to Rother that there was considerable support for CPE and they subsequently agreed to ask County to work up the scheme that was in due course agreed and is going to be implemented.
A few facts about CPE for the enlightenment of future correspondents who may have missed previous reports:
1. As CPE relates to on-street parking and the roads are County’s responsibility, it is County that ‘owns’ CPE and employs the wardens but it has to be requested by the District Council to demonstrate local popular support.
2. Rother car parks and their charges are not affected as by definition they are off-road.
3. The details of how CPE will work have already been determined and published.
4. Any changes to current on street parking arrangements have to be implemented across the whole of Rother, not just Battle. Battle would not get any different treatment if it changed its political allegiance and it is misleading to suggest otherwise.
5. Annual review of the CPE scheme has already been agreed.
6. Cheaper annual parking permits for residents are already part of the scheme.
7. Very low charges for short term parking in the current ‘free’ spaces on the High Street will ensure a rapid turnover of ‘pop in’ shoppers rather than having the spaces blocked for hours at a time.
8. CPE will be self funding and indeed create a surplus once set up costs have been cleared.
9. Part of the remit of the wardens will be to crack down on pavement and other dangerous or illegal parking.
Turning briefly to the comments about ATMs, my colleague Cllr Kevin Dixon sought the involvement of our MP back in January shortly after the closure of NatWest was first announced. Apart from a belated response from his PA promising action we have heard nothing since.
One of the major issues for businesses housing ATMs is that they are subject to separate business rates from the host business.
Rother has the power to allow discretionary rate relief and I believe they should do so in any communities that have been deprived of bank ATMs. In view of the lack of apparent action by our MP I have submitted a request that Rother give this their serious and urgent consideration.