Stand up for Sandgate against DOUBLING of Sandgate Residents Permit Costs and banning visitors from Wilberforce Road Car Park

December 12, 2017 12:08 PM
By Tim Prater, Sandgate Parish Councillor in Email to Sandgate Councillors Rory Love and Jan Holben
Originally published by Tim Prater | Sandgate Parish Councillor

Controlled Parking (CPZ) Sign in Sandgate - 2 hours free parkingHi Rory and Jan,

I'm sure I'm not the first to do so, but I'm flagging up the paper on parking going to Cabinet this week. I'm asking you both to do what you can urgently to remove those sections with the largest impact on Sandgate: the proposal to make Wilberforce Road Car Park "permit only" and the proposal to double the cost of Residents CPZ permits over the next three years from £30 to £60.

http://www.shepway.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s25776/Car%20Parking%20Review-Cabinet%20Report%20FV%20-%20REVISED.pdf

Wilberforce Road offers most of the rapidly vanishing number of places that visitors to Sandgate can park for longer than two hours during the course of the day. It was one of the points on which the extension of the CPZ was built that the car parks were still available to visitors - and then pretty much immediately (the CPZ only came into effect YESTERDAY) that parking is proposed to be reduced massively.

Although, I'm sure, Parking Services / the Cabinet member for Parking will say they can pay to park in Castle Road Car Park, clearly the bulk sale of permits to Saga massively impacts the availability of spaces there during the day.

Assume therefore Castle Road Car Park is full (and with 30 permits sold for a 46 space car park, it's not that big an assumption), there would be literally 6 spaces (Gough Road) visitors and staff could park for longer than two hours in Sandgate between 11am-3pm Monday to Saturday in the triangle from the start of Sandgate High Street to the top of Radnor Cliff and Military Road. Is that REALLY acceptable? No - in no way.

Many businesses rely on customers being here for longer than two hours - for example hairdressers. I accept, Rory, that you and I are rarely likely to spend two hours in a hairdresser in a single appointment. However, those going for a full colour, cut and dry apparently can and do take significantly longer than that - as can photographic studio appointments, and even some good lunches! Those customers will simply not be able to park in Sandgate - not just not park for free (which would be nice!) but not AT ALL.

And coming to the cost of permits - they have been static at £25 for years where they have been in place in Folkestone (for example Folkestone West). One of the reassurances given to local residents concerned that permits were just a Council cash cow that would keep going up in price was to look at Shepway's record over the last few years: "look, they've only gone up £5 in 5 years - that's not exactly a huge increase is it?". And then, with the Council's next breath, the proposal is now to DOUBLE the permit cost over the next three years, rising from £30 this year, to £40 the next, then £50, then £60. That's outrageous, and many Sandgate residents are going to feel - rightly - that they've been cheated. That level of increase is out of scale and unacceptable. When Shepway voted for a £5 permit cost price rise last year, did you expect that to be followed by a £10 rise for each of the three subsequent years? And if so, why was that intention not made that clear during the CPZ consultation process?

Shepway Parking Services in my contact with them over the last few days have said that these are only "proposals" and that cabinet, and indeed Councillors, can choose to reject them. Please - for the sake of Sandgate (and indeed all residents and business in a CPZ area) do so. Otherwise the entire CPZ extension process will be reasonably thought to have been in bad faith, and the end result terrible for local businesses and residents who will become increasingly priced out of permits.

I look forward to hearing from you, and hope you'll make this stop.

Regards,

Tim