Question 04/21

Question:

I refer to the statement on the RDC website “We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website”.  Also to the voice over option on the website to assist partially sighted people. Both laudable moves suggesting an inclusive approach by RDC.

Why then, when it comes to car parking in Rother, does the council adopt a different policy by forcing drivers to pay by mobile phone and demonstrate that RDC is not as inclusive as the council might like us to believe?

The Manor Gardens car park in particular serves The Old Town Surgery and a very high proportion of this services visitors are elderly. They won’t be in possession of a smart phone and won’t know how to download apps and operate them. They might also be concerned about divulging their credit card details over the internet using a phone.

Where mobile phone payments are offered it has traditionally been in addition to ticket machines or alternative methods of payment. To make MPP the only form of payment is extremely discriminatory against the elderly.

The installation of a new solar powered ticket machine that would correct this injustice and get RDC back on track with its attempts to be inclusive could be realised for less than £3,000, There is also a vibrant second hand market in these machines.

This is a list of car parks on the RDC website where the council seems proud of the fact that payment can only be made by mobile phone.

Egerton Park; Front of Town hall (Weekends and Bank Holidays only); Galley Hill – Bottom; Galley Hill – Top; Manor Gardens; Polegrove – Richmond Rd; War Memorial & Rye Salts.  (18/03/2021)

Answer:

The council brought in charges to certain car parks in the district that were felt to be most likely impacted by the introduction of on-street parking charges by East Sussex County Council. The quickest method to introduce charges was by RingGo as it takes some time to source, purchase and install appropriate infrastructure and payment machines, plus we wished to establish the impact of on-street parking charges on our car parks prior to making potentially unnecessary investment.

We are very aware that the use of our car parks has been heavily impacted by COVID 19 restrictions and we do not wish to make long term decisions on car park management based on unreliable data.  However we are listening to customers feedback, and reviewing data collected over the last 4 months since these changes were made, to consider various options for their future management, including methods of payment. (19/03/2021)