Residents of private Lewes road object to losing parking permits

Priory Crescent off Southover High Street in Lewes (photo froom Google Maps Street View).
Priory Crescent off Southover High Street in Lewes (photo froom Google Maps Street View).

Residents are to have their say on a controversial parking issue in Lewes following a decision by county councillors earlier this week. 

The matter was discussed at a meeting of the East Sussex County Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (September 11), as councillors looked at making a number of changes to parking arrangements in Lewes district.

During the meeting, committee members heard details of a dispute concerning permit parking in Southover High Street, which arose after residents of Priory Crescent suddenly found themselves ineligible for the scheme.

The whole issue stems from a mistake in a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) made by the county council in 2007, which incorrectly included residents of Priory Crescent (a private road) in a list of those eligible for permit parking.

Council officers say this TRO was replaced by a new (map based) order in 2014, which corrected the previous error and removed the right for Priory Crescent residents to get a parking permit.

However, council officers said, this change was not passed on to the authority’s private parking contractor until January last year, with Priory Crescent residents able to continue applying for or renewing their permits up to that point.

Much to their frustration, existing permit holders living in Priory Crescent were not told of this change until the time came to renew their permits.

The matter is further complicated by the fact that the 2007 TRO has not been officially revoked, just replaced by the 2014 order and left to lie dormant. 

To correct this the council moved to officially revoke the (now unused) TRO, but in doing so saw a wave of objections raised by Priory Crescent residents.

Objectors say they were not made aware of the changes to the permit parking in 2014 and, as a result, were not given the opportunity to object at the time.

Officers, however, say council policy is not to issue permits to residents of private roads and the change in the TRO merely reflects this.

After hearing the details of the case – including from objectors concerned about the wider implications of the changes to other parts of Lewes – the committee opted to defer its decision on revoking the 2007 TRO.

This would be done with the intention of holding further consultation and to direct the council’s parking service to look at extending its eligibility criteria to include Priory Crescent, the committee said.