Retailers and shoppers returning in cars to town centres across East Sussex, as ‘non-essential’ shops reopened last month, will have found notices warning of steep rises in on-street parking charges that come into effect from Wednesday, 1st July.

The hourly charge, up to now typically £1.50 in central streets, has gone up to £2.95. Two hours, which is the maximum stay in many places, now costs £5.90. 

In its official presentation, East Sussex County Council, which has set the new rate after a consultation last year, points out that on-street parking charges have not gone up for over ten years. It is argued that the substantially higher rates will impact driver behaviour for the better. They will “encourage people to use alternative sustainable forms of transport, or to use off-street car parks if they continue to drive, which will help reduce congestion and improve air quality in our towns”.

Hastings Old Town borough councillor James Bacon has written to the County Council leader Keith Glazier complaining that the parking charge hike will be “detrimental to the local economy and the survival of the eclectic mix of independent businesses in Old Hastings Ward”.

However Cllr Glazier wrote back arguing the contrary: “We fully expect the increase in on-street parking charges to increase the ‘churn’ of spaces, making it easier for shoppers to find a short-stay parking space, increasing footfall in the town centre and supporting local businesses to get back on their feet.”

That’s not an argument that seems likely to find favour with a majority of retailers, restaurateurs or bar-owners in central locations, nor with car drivers from out of town. Indeed a petition calling for reversal of the new charges has been set in motion on the County Council website: see https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgEPetitionListDisplay


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