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Victory over plans to scrap permit parking along Deal seafront

Protesters have won a battle to stop the loss of more than 300 parking spaces along a seafront.

Dover District Council’s cabinet had last week voted to replace the permit holder spaces with pay and display bays at Beach Street in Deal.

More evidence is needed for the council can take away permits, it was decided
More evidence is needed for the council can take away permits, it was decided

But the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee voted on Monday night to call in that decision for closer examination.

It demanded evidence to back the cabinet’s claim that it was best to provide those spaces for visitors.

It also wanted to know what would happen for residents losing their spaces.

The area affected the stretch of Deal seafront from The Royal Hotel to The Marina, which has 608 resident permits and the meeting heard that the cabinet decision would have led to the loss of 321 permit bays.

Resident Geoff Leigh, of Beach Street, told KentOnline after the meeting: “This is a great result. Our main complaint was no consultation, no notice given. Now we’ve got that and the bonus of the withdrawal of the clause.”

Geoff Leight and other protesters after Monday night's scrutiny meeting
Geoff Leight and other protesters after Monday night's scrutiny meeting

The cabinet had argued that its decision supported the council’s tourism agenda and would have a “marginal” impact on the residents as alternative parking was available.

Mr Leigh had told the committee there were no reasonable alternative spaces for residents and this would particularly affect those with mobility problems.

He added this would have a knock-on effect on residents in neighbouring streets. This was because people living on the seafront would have to compete with them for spaces.

He added that during slack periods, when more spaces were empty, locals would have the frustration of being unable to use their permits to fill them.

He told councillors: “Far from having a ‘marginal’ impact on residents the effect will be significant for all.

“There is no evidence in the council document. If that’s the reasonit’s completely unsound.” - Cllr Trevor Bond

“Each and every one of the 608 permit holders will have a different nuance as to how this will impact their lives: health issues, having young children, returning home at unsociable hours have all been mentioned.

“But regardless of these is it not reasonable just to want to park outside or near your own home?”

Cllr Trevor Bond said the cabinet had provided no evidence that tourism would be boosted.

He added: ”We are losing 321 spaces. Where are those 321 people going to park?

“We have to weigh up the benefits and harm and so far I see only harm and no benefits.

Deal permit holders can park in existing pay and display spaces
Deal permit holders can park in existing pay and display spaces

“They are saying: ‘It may be good for tourism but we don’t have any evidence.’

“There is no evidence in the council document. If that’s the reasonit’s completely unsound.”

Residents had been especially angry that they had not been consulted before the cabinet’s decision.

Scrutiny committee chairman Linda Keen commented: “There is no mention of consultation in the cabinet report.”

The scrutiny meeting heard that the council would now write to householders for their views.

The cabinet’s vote still meant that Blue Badger holders would be able to use the bays, free and for unlimited times.

The decision had been one of nine it made at its meeting on January 13.

The others included raising hourly charges from £1.10 to £1.30 in several car parks in Dover, Deal and Sandwich.

A decision to introduce charges for the first time in four rural car parks was deferred for consultation with the relevant parish councils.

These were at Reach Road, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe, The Street in Ash and Wingham and Eastry High Streets.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal


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