And due to the Tory profligacy under former leader David Monk, the new Green led administration are proposing motorists pay nearly £400,000 per year, for parking in the town centre’s of Folkestone, Hythe & New Romney, when it is currently free. This proposal is to “help plug the council’s budget deficit” of £18.5m.
Folkestone Sandgate Rd
This will be discussed at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the 14 Novemeber 2023 – Agenda item 5.
Proposals to introduce charges in shopping streets in the district are not a new idea. They were first put forward in 2010. In 2011 it triggered three parish referendums – in Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe – all of which overwhelmingly rejected the scheme. During the public consultation in 2012, many objections were raised by local traders. The local MP Damian Collins was opposed to it, local political parties were quick to jump on the bandwagon, and local traders feared for their future well-being.
Following the public consultations, it was decided by Cabinet not to introduce the parking charges in any of the shopping streets due to concerted campaigns launched by various people and campaign groups.
Hythe High St
The parking fiasco was the reason former Alderman and District Leader Robert Bliss (RIP) lost his leadership to David Monk.
Again parking charges for town centers were deferred in 2017.
Only now, after years of the local Tories allowing money to be squandered unnecessarily on Princes Parade, on overpaid contracts and more besides, does the new incumbent Green led administration need to resort to charging for parking in and around the town centres of Folkestone, Hythe & New Romney.
In Report Number C/23/52 it states introducing charging in the three town centres would improve air quality in the three town centres. According to the Council’s air quality reports – which do not monitor any of the three town centres – we have good air quality in our district. So with no evidence, they make a claim that is not substantiated and supported by any evidence, whatsoever.
The legislation states:
(1) a local authority may—
(a) undertake, or contribute towards the cost of, investigation and research relevant to the problem of air pollution;
(b) arrange for the publication of information on that problem;
(c) arrange for the delivery of lectures and addresses, and the holding of discussions, on that problem;
(d) arrange for the display of pictures, cinematograph films or models, or the holding of exhibitions, relating to that problem; and
(e) prepare, or join in or contribute to the cost of the preparation of, pictures, films, models or exhibitions to be displayed or held as mentioned in paragraph (d).
Without the evidence, one cannot take the Council’s claim seriously:
“The result will be a decrease in congestion and a potential increase in the uptake of alternative/active modes of transport, so improving air quality in busy shopping streets.”
They need to stump up the evidence, undertake the investigation, as per s34 of the Clean air Act 93, and provide the evidence to substantiate the claim.
New Romney High St
Also there are is no evidence how the introduction of parking charges will impact local traders across all three town centers either. Again they could undertake a survey to provide evidence to substantiate there claims local traders will fair better under the proposals.
The proposal of course are subject to statutory consultations. At present there are 2-hour free limited waiting bays in the following roads:
• Folkestone- Bouverie Square, Bouverie Road West, Christchurch
Road, Cheriton Place, Manor Road and Sandgate Road.
• Sandgate- Sandgate High Street
• Hythe- High Street, Hythe
• New Romney- High Street New Romney
It is these areas the Council wish to convert to paid for parking (Pay and Display) as shown in Appendix 1
Of course, if you have something to say about the introduction of charges to park in the three town centers, we strongly suggest you write to you local councillor and your local MP, to show either your acceptance of such an idea or your disapproval of such proposals under consideration by the new green led administration.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime