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New parking charge proposals in Aylesford, Larkfield and Snodland spark complaints from school and MP

Parents, teachers and residents could all feel the effects of new parking charges, a school has warned.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council wants to charge motorists who park in parts of Aylesford, Larkfield and Snodland for as little as 30 minutes.

Headteacher Jim Holditch outside St Peter's CofE Primary School, where parents rely on a nearby car park. Picture: Andy Jones
Headteacher Jim Holditch outside St Peter's CofE Primary School, where parents rely on a nearby car park. Picture: Andy Jones

Consultations began last week and there is already plenty of opposition from schools, businesses and residents as well as Chatham and Aylesford's MP.

With little or no street parking, villagers in Aylesford rely on Bailey Bridge Car Park in Station Road for their cars, as do parents on the school run, teachers and other visitors.

Jim Derritch, head of St Peter's CofE Primary School said: "I do get complaints from residents when a minority of parents park selfishly on the street outside our school.

"The vast majority of parents use the village car park, if the council is going to charge then you're going to move a lot of people on to the side streets.

"There's going to be chaos."

Residents, teachers, businesses and visitors all need to use Bailey Bridge Car Park in Aylesford. Picture: Andy Jones
Residents, teachers, businesses and visitors all need to use Bailey Bridge Car Park in Aylesford. Picture: Andy Jones

In Aylesford, there are plans to bring in parking charges at both council car parks, Bailey Bridge West and East, starting from 20p for 30 minutes.

Residents could pay £100 for a 12 month season ticket, while businesses would have to pay £200.

It's not clear whether St Peter's teachers will be eligible for a season ticket.

Mr Derritch said: "One of the first things I will be asking is whether our teachers are able to buy one.

"Then I'll make the case that the council scrap the payment for half an hour so our parents can keep using the car park."

General view of Bailey Bridge Car Park (West). Picture: Andy Jones
General view of Bailey Bridge Car Park (West). Picture: Andy Jones

TMBC wants to introduce charges for parking in St Martin's Square, Larkfield.

There could be charges at Snodland car park too, but a public consultation will not start until after the council finishes an internal review.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch said: "It's not surprising there has been uproar.

"There's going to a significant impact on local businesses for starters. Then Morrisons in Larkfield may feel forced to implement their own parking charges.

"Then with the controversial proposal for a Lidl in Ditton, there is a real risk to the long term future of Morrisons, which is a hub of employment in Larkfield."

Parking charges could change across Tonbridge and Malling
Parking charges could change across Tonbridge and Malling

As well as consultations on the future of parking in Larkfield and Aylesford, TMBC is asking for the public's views on increasing charges elsewhere in the borough.

To find out more about each consultation, visit tinyurl.com/kmoffstreet.


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