ROBERTSBRIDGE has a railway station and a station car park which is only half full because commuters park on the streets rather than pay the car park fee.
Robertsbridge also has a Rother District Council (RDC) car park that has 2-hour and 9-hour places from 8am to 6pm. Both types are free but there are penalties if you overstay. For two decades RDC has not enforced these time limits.
Five months ago, in an understandable attempt to raise income, RDC began sending an employee to enforce the limits and impose fines.
At first he was successful and many £80 fines were issued causing great local resentment at the lack of warning.
Soon however car park users learned what was happening. Now the RDC car park, which used to be fairly full stands nearly empty during the day.
Those who used to use the car park now add to the on-street parking reducing George Hill, the main road in from the south, to single line working.
This hill ends in a bend on which stands a primary school. Some people fear that the risk of an accident to children has been materially increased.
Thus the continued visits to enforce the car park time limits are probably costing RDC Council Tax payers (us) more than the fines they generate AND are making conditions in the village streets worse for everyone because of the extra on-street parking.
There are two other villages with RDC car parks of the same kind, though neither is afflicted with commuters. The same arguments about costs rather than income probably apply.
There is a simple solution to all this: ANNOUNCE A MORATORIUM ON ENFORCEMENT until the forthcoming Rother-wide parking review is complete.
That would save our money and reduce parking on the streets to what it used to be.
On RDC councillors visiting cards, their aims are stated as: “Putting customers first; Delivering value for money; Building stronger, safer communities; Working in partnership”.
Fine words. Yet in the matter of the village car parks the RDC ‘Scrutiny Committee’ ignored all these aims and voted to do nothing. Why? Why are they wasting our money just to make things worse?
R S Clymo
High Street, Robertsbridge