Paying to park in Robertsbridge?

To anyone who occasionally pops into Robertsbridge by car to visit the Post Office or pick up a pint of milk: in a few years’ time you could be paying to park your car, even for a short time.

As I have mentioned before, enforcement of on-street parking in this district is currently the responsibility of the police, who have made it quite clear that they don’t have the resources, and won’t be doing it. So it is an open secret that you can pretty much park where you like in Rother. The police will intervene if you park somewhere seriously dangerous, or actually block the flow of traffic, but not otherwise.

This will all change sometime in 2020 with the introduction of “Civil Parking Enforcement”. Rother District Council will take over the responsibility for street parking and will employ traffic wardens to enforce the existing yellow lines and time restrictions. These traffic wardens will have salaries which will need to be paid, and by law all such CPE schemes have to be self-financing. So payment for on-street parking will be introduced in order to raise the extra money needed.

The proposal as it stands at the moment would see on-street parking charges introduced in Robertsbridge and Battle (but not Burwash or Etchingham).

Although in theory there has been no final decision about the introduction of CPE in Rother, my interpretation is that it is going to happen and is probably unstoppable. What one can do, however, is to influence the detail. In particular, I would suggest, we could push for the proposed “pay and display” areas in Robertsbridge to have an initial free 20 or 30 minutes. The current proposal is for every minute to be chargeable.

Full details of the scheme can be seen here, and there is a link where you can complete an opinion survey. Although this is billed as an “informal consultation” and will be followed by formal consultations, I think it is worth getting our opinions in as soon as possible.

When you finally navigate to them, the proposals for Robertsbridge are presented in the form of a map. The first challenge is that the map as displayed is too small to be readable.  Windows computer users will (probably) find that they can enlarge the map by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing “+” a number of times – and Mac users will know the equivalent, I dare say.  Once you have done that, the information is there, but they have not gone out of their way to make it understandable, and it took me some time poring over it before I worked it out. It looks to me as if there are just 3 significant changes (a) “no waiting” areas around bus stops and the school entrance (b) the existing strip of parking around OneStop and the hairdressers will become “pay and display”, as will the existing strip of parking between the Village Hall entrance and the flood gate (c) all existing yellow lines will become liable to enforcement. Anywhere else in Robertsbridge where you can currently legally park will be unaffected.

Having said all that, the proposed pay and display rates are quite low: 10p for 15 minutes with a maximum of 2 hours but of course they could put them up once the scheme has started.

The car park next to the club appears to be unaffected (I have an idea this is owned by the Parish Council).

The survey closes on 14 January 2019. The survey questions are quite poorly worded (in my opinion) and tendentious, and some of them don’t really make sense, but there is a nice big comment box where you can add your own thoughts.

The proposals also cover Battle but I haven’t even looked at those.