East Sussex County Council is to consult on proposals to increase its on-street parking fees, with the prices of residents’ permits and pay and display tickets both set to rise.
On Monday (June 17), East Sussex County Council’s deputy leader Nick Bennett signed off on a public consultation to seek views on standardising the county council’s on-street parking charges throughout Eastbourne, Hastings and the Lewes district.
According to the council, the proposals would come alongside the first significant increases to pay and display parking charges for around 11 years.
In Lewes the cost of a 15 minute stay on the High Street would increase from 50p to £1, 30 minutes from £1 to £1.95, one hour from £2 to £3.90, and two hours from £4 to £7.80.
Meanwhile charges in the intermediate and outer areas of the town would all double.
Currently motorists pay 60p to park in the intermediate zone for an hour and this would go up to £1.20. Similarly the hourly charge in the outer zone for an hour would rise from 30p to 60p.
The proposals would also see low emission vehicles pay a lower rate for a parking permit.
In approving the consultation, Cllr Bennett said: “CPE (Civil Parking Enforcement) has to pay for itself and if you want some form of regulation curbing traffic movement then you have got to have parking enforcement.
“You could say we will just take the middle value of all of these permits and parking charges, but I actually think the introduction of the emissions element is a good thing.
“Whether the pricing is absolutely right is something the consultation will discover.”
As a result of the low emission pricing scheme, the council says most permit holders in Hastings would see their charges fall or stay the same, rather than increase.
Most permit holders in Eastbourne, however, are expected to see their charges increase under the same system, as the borough’s current permit scheme is set at a lower cost.
At the moment a standard 12 month resident’s permit for Hastings town centre is set at £75, while a standard 12 month permit in Eastbourne is set at £25.
Under the new proposals the standardised cost of both permits would range from £95 to £15, depending on the vehicle’s emissions.
Charges for permits in Lewes, where a discount is already given to low emission vehicles, would remain the same, while the cost of resident permits in Falmer would increase.
Currently Falmer residents pay £37.50 a year for a first permit for a petrol or diesel vehicle and this would rise to £50. For electric vehicles the yearly charge would increase from £18.75 to £25.
The cost of second permits and visitor permits would also rise.
Council officers stressed that the fee increases are intended to have an affect on people’s driving habits – incentivising people to use public transport and to park in off-street car parks if visiting a town for long periods.
Opposition councillors, however, criticised the proposals due to the level of increase proposed.
As a result of Cllr Bennett’s decision, a six-week consultation on the proposals are expected to run from July 1 to August 11.
According to the council, the increased charges would be used to cover the cost of parking enforcement in the county.
Any additional surplus after operational costs, the council says, could go towards the county council’s public transport costs and be invested in sustainable transport projects to reduce congestion and improve air quality.