July 2019 Extra

LEWES PARKING CHARGES CONSULTATION

East Sussex County Council is proposing to increase some parking charges in Lewes. The consultation was publicised on 1/July/2019 and runs until 11/August/19

You can find details of the proposals and a link to the consultation here.

In summary:

  • Resident and business permit prices will stay the same
  • Car park charges will stay the same (these are controlled by Lewes District Council)
  • On street car parking charges will roughly double.
  • Visitor permit prices (including carer/health care worker permits) will increase by about 25% although hotel permits will, for some reason, more than double.

The council says that it has to increase the charges to meet the costs of running the scheme, including parking wardens, and to fund support for bus services.  The council drastically cut its support for bus services a few years ago and travelman is suspicious that, rather than increase bus service subsidy, the council will just use the money to fund its current meagre subsidies.

PRINCIPLES

It is quite clear that Lewes cannot sustain the level of traffic that it is getting.  Jams are frequent and those who have to drive into the town often find it difficult to find anywhere to park.  On the other hand it is not reasonable to ask many people to give up their cars given the current lack of alternatives.

Travelman suggests that policies should be directed to encouraging people to leave their car at home wherever possible.  At the moment much of the cost of a car is incurred in just owning it- Think about initial cost and depreciation, vehicle excise duty, insurance etc.  So the cost of actually driving it anywhere is proportionately very low.  Policies should make it cheaper to leave the car where it is and more expensive to move it around.  So we need to increase the cost of fuel and parking away from home and reduce the cost of residents’ permits, vehicle excise duty etc.

OUTCRY

There has already been the usual outcry that trade in local shops will die because people will not pay the parking charges and will shop elsewhere. Travelman is usually a bit sceptical about formal consultations such as this one, thinking that they are only done because they are a formal requirement. But in this case he thinks the proposals are mainly worth supporting and that as many people as possible should respond positively to contradict the naysayers.

WHAT MIGHT YOU SAY?

 Here is what travelman will be saying.  You may wish to use the ideas as a basis for your own response.  There are some leading yes/no type questions at the start of the survey designed to engineer a positive response.  But  you probably do not have to reply to them. Question 15 lets you express your own views.

  • The key issue is parking places, not parking charges. When you can’t find a place to park on the street it does not matter what the charge for parking is.
  • We have very little street parking in shopping areas in the town and it makes sense to make sure it is only used by visitors who really need it.
  • We have had parking charges for some time and there is no evidence that people in, for example Ringmer, have changed their shopping habits to go to places like Uckfield or Newhaven.
  • Most street parking is in residential areas. Discouraging non-resident parking in these areas makes more space for residents.  A considerable amount of visitor parking in these areas results from from large employers in the town, such as East Sussex Council. They should be encouraged to minimise employee and councillor use of cars.
  • No change is planned to parking in public or supermarket car parks. Councils have cracked down on Tesco’s attempt to limit car parking in their car park.
  • It is no good just saying that some of the money raised will go towards bus services. There should be a clear well-publicised improvement in bus services into the town from rural areas supported by the council.
  • The proposals should be part of a package offering people genuine alternatives to driving into Lewes.
  • The council should investigate adopting a similar system to London where routes are franchised in blocks so that the profitable routes cross subsidise the unprofitable ones.
  • It is wrong to increase the cost of hotel permits which is likely to encourage visitors to drive around in their cars rather than leave them near the hotel or guest house and travel around the area by public transport. It should also work to make transfers between bus and train easier than they currently are.
  • It is cruel and unnecessary to increase charges for carers’ permits.

You can find details of the proposals and a link to the consultation here.

GOT SOMETHING THAT OTHER PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT?

Send it to me at travelman@travelloglewes.co.uk  Deadline for each issue is the 25th of the month before.

 

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