Opposition to decriminalisation of parking enforcement in Wealden was described as ‘somewhat quaint’ at a meeting in Uckfield last night.
David Hubbard, who described himself as a resident of Uckfield for 51 years and a parking expert, was speaking at the annual town meeting held at the Civic Centre when the issue of parking problems caused by a lack of enforcement was discussed.
Enforcement is currently the responsibility of Sussex Police but their budget cuts mean this is not a priority for them.
Mr Hubbard said Wealden District Council had wasted the last 25 years in not proceeding with decriminalisation. The theory that it would be bad for commerce would not be backed up by what had happened in the rest of the UK.
Mr Hubbard was speaking after town clerk Holly Goring responded to another member of the public who asked what the council was going to do about parking. “You can’t just keep putting this on one side,” the resident said.
Ms Goring said that East Sussex County Council prepared a detailed report for Wealden Council just over a year ago which looked at introducing on-street parking charges to pay for enforcement.
She added that, to make that model viable, charges would also have had to be introduced in some villages and that would not help the local rural economy, small rural businesses, and so a decision was put on hold.
Ms Goring said the town council kept bringing the matter to the forefront with partners, including the county and the police. “We are not sitting still. We want to find a solution that works for people.”
Mr Hubbard said the introduction of decriminalisation of parking enforcement in Lewes had been difficult: “Let’s face it. When Lewes introduced their first parking zone the company sub-contracted to run it ran at a loss, but they definitely make a profit now.
“There is a solution out there,” he said.
• Illegal parking problems were also discussed by a full meeting of Uckfield Town Council on Monday night when members agreed to investigate the possibility of sharing the cost of a traffic warden – who would be employed by Sussex Police – with councils in Crowborough, Hailsham and Polegate. Read more here: Uckfield councillors support idea of jointly funding traffic warden.
More on parking from the Uckfield News archive: