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Letters: Lessons to be learnt?

Published by on Friday, 2 May 2008No Comment

I have been really intrigued by what is happening over parking in Eastbourne streets as result of a dispute between East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Council and which has been going on over the last 9 months, as I believe that there are defiantly lessons to be learned for Brighton and Hove. Over this period ‘on street‘ parking has been free, though obviously and quite rightly parking in restricted areas like on double/single yellow lines, or causing an obstruction, has resulted in tickets being issued very swiftly by the traffic wardens. However the important result is that apparently Eastbourne’s local economy is beginning to thrive and even the most humble bookshop is now enjoying a renaissance as increasing numbers of new customers, drawn from visitors and residents alike, have got their tills buzzing. Now residents do not want to return to old ‘Pay and Display’ regime and their council is supporting them By contrast our council sets parking rates in the centre of Brighton at a staggering £3 per hour (using machines which do not give change!) and making even a modest morning or afternoon’s shopping in this city add £12 to the excursion on top of the ever rising price of petrol. Central NCP car parks are even higher at 80p per 15 minutes. Neither of these charges will worry councillors of course who get free parking in city centre car parks, so no wonder they don’t understand! They seem to believe that visitors are meant to only arrive on a cycle or by public transport, which is simply not going to happen in any meaningful numbers, particularly not the thousands who are needed to support local shops and services in the city. It will not be long before visitors give Brighton and Hove a wide berth and take themselves off to other large towns like Eastbourne which has all the well known chain stores as well as a large number of interesting independent shops. Residents of this city have also not come away financially unscathed: concessionary visitors’ day vouchers have doubled to £2 each and the residents’ permit scheme has also gone up way ahead of inflation all over the city, once again creating another financial burden on top of everything else which is currently draining people’s income or savings. Of course none of these changes were flagged up in this year’s earlier issues of the expensively produced City News which I thought was there to keep residents fully abreast of what is happening in the city, but then of course they did not want us buying visitors permits at a £1 before the price doubled! Do I think that our council will have a rethink following the evidence of Eastbourne? Well I’m not holding my breath because when did common sense ever enter their thinking!

Tony Johnson, Bedford Square, Brighton

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