Thursday 12 April 2007

Good Friday parking

Out canvassing on Prince Edward's Road yesterday, one resident told me an extraordinary story. On Good Friday, he'd seen a car full of parking attendants descend on cars parked outside Christ Church, ticket them and drive off in the direction of St. Johns Sub Castro. When he asked them if they should warn worshippers that they were being ticketed, they said it wasn't their job to do that.

Now, I suppose the job of parking attendant would be impossible if they were required to warn car owners before ticketing, so that is perhaps understandable. But, what were they doing there?

I spoke to a manager at the parking shop, and asked him about this. "No way" were they targetting church goers, they were just doing their usual patrols, he said. But, who do they expect to find parking on a Good Friday morning in Lewes. It's not a busy town on bank holidays, so why are bank holidays enforceable in Lewes?

It's a County Council policy, which the NCP manager wasn't prepared to comment on (nor would I in his position!) I find it somewhat bizarre that the Tory County Council would unnecessarily enforce parking on Christian holidays - given that the Church of England has been described as the "Tory Party at Prayer" (my apologies to non-Tory Christians, and non-CofE Torys alike - oh).

I think it's also unreasonable that parking charges are enforced on days that the local buses don't run - which is also the responsibility of the County Council.

A resident of Bradford Road asked why parking charges are enforcable on Saturday. Well, Saturdays are quite busy in Lewes, and the buses do run. However, in that area, parking problems are mostly caused by the influx of County Council employees (I know, because I used to live in De Montfort Road, and parking was only hard on weekdays during office hours).

So, I've written to the County Council officer responsible, to ask what the thinking is behind these policies. It seems to me they could easily change the policy on Bank Holidays, but I'm not so sure about Saturdays.

I've also got some ideas about how to encourage people to use other forms of transport, as opposed to discouragment with charges and fines. I know that traffic and parking in Lewes are hard, and the problems need to be tackled - for the sake of all road users. I'll talk about my ideas in a future posting, but if you have any comments on parking or traffic, please make them here!

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