Changes to parking in Wealden agreed

One of the parking signs put up in Wealden's car parks.
One of the parking signs put up in Wealden's car parks.

Changes to parking in Hailsham, Uckfield and Forest Row have been approved by Wealden District Council.

The council said it will free up more parking space for shoppers, visitors and workers in the district’s towns and villages by introducing more flexibility into car park stay periods.

This includes a medium stay period for workers.

The new car park stay periods are short stay - three hours, medium stay - six to ten hours, long stay - 23 hours.

Cllr Graham Wells, Cabinet member for Asset management, said: “Wealden provides 2,745 free car parking places.

“ They do an important job in helping to maintain the vitality of the high streets.

“The new car parking order will ensure short term visits and disabled places are closer to the main centres, while medium term spaces provide suitable car parking for local workers.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation, either by email, letter or petitions.

“As a result further changes have been made to the provision of car parking spaces at Hailsham, Uckfield, Forest Row and Wadhurst.

“In Uckfield, where commuters’ use of free car parking spaces has made it difficult for local shoppers and visitors, we are installing Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology to ensure short and medium spaces are properly enforced.

“The consultation also made clear the level of public concern about the effective enforcement of on-street car parking in Wealden.”

“Although on-street parking is not the responsibility of Wealden District Council, Cabinet also agreed further work will be carried out with the police, county council, town and parish councils and Network Rail to improve on-street car parking arrangements and ensure they are robustly enforced.”

Wealden already offers free parking at 38 of its 40 car parks.

Wealden’s new car parking order came into effect on Monday (February 23), except in Uckfield when changes will happen in the spring to coincide with the opening of the Network Rail car park.

Cameras have been put up in the Luxford Car Park in Uckfield and start recording when new regulations come into force.

A firm called Horizon will monitor the cameras and issue initial tickets although Wealden will deal with follow-up enforcement issues.

During the 90 day consultation, the council received 11 letters, 93 emails and five petitions with a total of 392 signatures.

At various times over the past few years, suggestions have been made that Wealden should start charging for car parking.

But vociferous reaction from local businesses and chambers of commerce ensures parking remains free.

They point out free parking is one advantage that market towns have over their larger competitors like Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne.

In Uckfield, charges will be introduced at the new Network Rail car park but parking elsewhere in the town will remain free.

It is still uncertain whether on-street parking will stay once the next stage of the regeneration scheme gets underway.

For more information about the parking changes coming into force in the district visit Wealden District Council’s website at: www.wealden.gov.uk.