Eastbourne Town Centre Businesses Lobby East Sussex County Council to Reverse the Parking Charges.
Following lockdown, East Sussex County Council continued their plan to increase parking charges in Eastbourne, despite ongoing lobbying by Your Eastbourne Business Improvement District (BID). Your Eastbourne BID represents over 600 businesses within the town centre and we invited Cllr Claire Dowling to meet with the board of directors to hear our concerns and feedback. Unfortunately, this invite was declined.
During a time when we are being discouraged from using public transport, following a long period when very few businesses were able to continue trading, we believe it is paramount to create an inviting environment, encouraging people to visit the town centre in order to shop locally and have some kind of normality.
Footfall is down due to the pandemic. To hike up parking charges now could be massively detrimental to businesses and to Eastbourne as a whole. Visitors and town centre staff are driving into work as carsharing and public transport are not recommended.
During the last 40 years, the traditional shopping experience has undergone some monumental changes, affecting the way we shop. The development of out of town shopping centres and the emergence of online shopping (magnified by the pandemic), has all led to a decrease in footfall within town centres, in turn harming shops on the high street. With this latest shock to our way of life, our local businesses are at risk. Increasing parking charges now is wrong.
Your Eastbourne BID will continue to lobby East Sussex County Council to reverse the increase in parking charges. Our ambassadors have been discussing these changes with BID members and have the support of retailers and restauranteurs across the town centre.
Ashley Pugh, W. Bruford’s, says: ‘I care deeply for Eastbourne and the town centre. It is a wonderful place to live and work but I am disgusted at the recent parking charge increase; it is harming the trade across town for a whole range of businesses. A halt to this charge increase will allow Eastbourne businesses to gather themselves up following what has been a horrendously difficult time and give everyone a chance to begin recovery. Without appropriate cycle routes or other alternatives to travel, there is no sense in increasing this charge.’
Julie Hunt, The Beach Hut, has heard numerous complaints from customers about the cost of parking: ‘It’s ridiculous. We’re trying to encourage people back to Eastbourne and with the current situation, we need all the help we can get. It is the wrong time for an increase in parking charges.’