Published: 10:00, 17 January 2018
Motorists in Dover district could be clobbered with more Sunday car parking charges.
The council’s cabinet on Monday voted to introduce the new charges in 12 car parks in Dover, Deal and Sandwich.
The proposals will go out to public consultation but the scrutiny committee last night voted for the scheme to be scrapped.
Dover Labour member Peter Wallace, who voted on that committee, condemned the move as a “huge mistake.”
He said: “It is a day of rest when the council should be encouraging people to relax, visit our castles and beaches, or meet friends and family in our cafes.
“The people I’ve spoken to about this believe it will put them off and they’ll go to places where there is free parking instead, like Westwood Cross in Thanet.
“There should be some free periods of parking to encourage people to spend their time and money in our district.”
Cllr Wallace, member for Maxton, Elms Vale and Priory, added: “I’m particularly worried about churchgoers who will have to pay for the first time ever to go to church on a Sunday.
“I think they should be protected from these charges.
“Similarly, I’m concerned about inadvertently stopping fishing competitions on Deal Pier.
“Again it’s a unique asset that we should be encouraging people to use.
“Charging to park for a maximum of four hours will kill off a typical fishing competition that lasts five to seven hours.”
The new charges, planned for 2018/19, affect four car parks in Dover, including Stembrook, Townwall Street, Woolcomber Street, and Bench Street.
These all neighbour the forthcoming St James' retail and leisure development, which will have seven-day-a-week charging.
Dover District Council fears keeping these car parks free on Sundays would mean visitors could swamp them to avoid paying at St James'.
There are also plans for these charges on the on-street bays at Castle Street and Russell Street.
Only the Seafront and Camden Crescent have seven-day payments in Dover.
Parking will remain free at the spaces at Maison Dieu Road, Ladywell, Pencester Road, Norman Street and Albany Place.
At Deal seven-day charging is planned for the spaces at Middle Street, South Street, Stanhope Road, the Town Hall, Sainsbury's St Ethelburga and Park Street.
All-week payments are also called by the authority for on-street bays in Beach Street, Prince of Wales Terrace, King Street and Victoria Road.
This same is planned for the Guildhall car park at Sandwich.
The council says that there are pressures on parking at weekends in Deal and introduction of charges by English Heritage at Deal and Walmer Castles.
It says it is trying to strike a balance between keeping cars coming and going into spaces and stopping car parks being clogged up and not discouraging people from using town centre businesses.
Prices will not go up and charging hours will not be extended.
The period of public consultation for these plans is due to be confirmed.