Observer on paying the price of parking control

Our independent Saturday columnist Observer discusses the likely change to on-street parking in Uckfield.

 

‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is a well known business saying. So it proves in life.

People in Uckfield are (by and large) fed up with the way cars litter the streets, yellow lines ignored with pavement parking a norm.

Residents have demanded action.

Not a priority

Sussex Police, whose responsibility it is at the moment, has said sorry, dishing out parking tickets is not a priority but we will deal with any cases which put the public in danger.

You can understand that. Police budgets and numbers have been slashed while they seem to have ever more to do.

In many other areas parking is decriminalised – Lewes, for example – and both on and off-street car parking is controlled by the councils.

All down to money

Wealden District Council has listened to people’s demands for action on parking (and not just from Uckfield) and is proposing taking action.

But here’s the rub.

Parking control costs money. Someone has to pay.

That’s why one idea on the table sees a charge being proposed for ON-street parking (not the car parks) with pay and display meters in the High Street.

If that idea doesn’t gain traction, the request would be for town councils to cover the costs of parking enforcement in their towns.

Town council subsidy?

Surely, town councils cannot subsidise parking; nor for that matter Wealden. It would need quite a hike in the council tax to cover the costs.

From the figures I have seen, I was not able to work out how much the subsidy would need to be from a town like Uckfield.

Wealden’s report said: The cost of taking over responsibility for on-street parking enforcement from the police following community pressure would be £220,000 to set up and about £330,000 a year.

Council tax rise

What we do know is that Uckfield Town Council is proposing total expenditure in 2018/19 of around £876,000.

You can see from those figures a large subsidy to avoid pay parking would take either a large chunk of the current budget, meaning things we have now would be removed; OR (and more likely) a big rise in council tax.

At the moment, we pay more council tax in Uckfield than most others in Wealden at £153.57pa (band D) for town council services.

Free-for-all

It is difficult to see how a big tax rise could be justified, especially to those people who never want to park in the High Street and are happy to use car parks, or walk, cycle, or take the the bus.

All I can see at present is this: pay to park on the High Street or let the current free-for-all continue and get worse.

One assumes the warden(s) would stray beyond the town centre and deal with other places in the town where on-street parking restrictions are ignored.

Bad trains

Those spaces on the High Street are, at the moment, rather tempting  if you want to park all day, close to the station and for free when up in London!

That’s, of course, if the trains run – we’ve had another abysmal week by Southern.

It appears that they just cannot get their trains to work.

See also:

Former shop may become offices

Christmas shopping in Uckfield

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

How to advertise on UckfieldNews.com

 

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