To receive a petition from the public, a summary of which is set out in the report, and to decide a response.
PETITION: KEEP 1 HOUR’S FREE PARING IN PADDOCK WOOD.
The council received a petition containing over 1,000 signatures which stated “We the undersigned disapprove of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s decision to take away Paddock Woods first hour free parking with no public consultation. This is a lifeline for our local business who will be the ones who lose the foot fall though their doors and who are still recovering from covid restrictions”.
Mr Richard Barsley and Mr Paul Smith were in attendance to present the petition which included the following comments.
· Mary Portus was commission by Government to report on town centre decline
where she reported parking fees killing town centres
Mr Jamil Nasir
· Advised that all residents were pleased that the decision had been reversed
· He thanked the coalition council for their actions
· Residents and Businesses still fear that town centre car parks were not included
Councillor Rutland moved and Councillor Warne seconded the motion. “The Council welcomes the petition and thanks those who signed it the council notes that cabinet have agreed to keep 1 hour free parking as requested by the petition.
Debate on the motions included the following points.
· In total over 3000 signatures collected which is high percentage of resident living in town and higher that percentage that vote in elections
· PW visitors can park illegally safe in the knowledge that they will not be caught due to lack of parking enforcement officers
· Free parking is an essential selling factor
· Borough Partnership were thanked for listening and changing their stance
· It was raised that due to the way the petitions had been handled and supressed thousands of people disenfranchised due to technicalities
· Regrettable oversight before doing and consultation was rushed.
· Parking and car usage needs to be addressed with Net Zero targets
· Large retail spaces such as Bluewater cannot be allowed to attract shoppers away from town centre shopping.
· Concern around timelines of this free charge being applicable
· It was requested that a timetable be compiled to act as a way forward
· What should the future of the high street look like and it was felt it was an important decision that needs to be made
Councillor Rutland requested a recorded vote on the amendment
Members who voted in favour of the amendment: Councillors Allen, Atkins, Atwood, Bailey, Barrass, Barrington-King, Bland, Brice, Britcher-Allan, Chapelard, Dawlings, Fairweather, Ellis, Everitt, Fitzsimmons, Funnell, Dr Hall, hall, Hayward, Hill, Holden, Knight, Le Page, Lewis, Lidstone, March, McMillan, Moon, Morton, Neville, Patterson, Poile, Pope Pound, Roberts, Rogers, Rutland, Sankey, Wakeman, Warne, White, Wormington, (42)