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MP's relief at 'reprieve' over controversial plan to bring parking charges to Larkfield and Aylesford

Parents, teachers and other villagers have been handed a "reprieve" over controversial plans to make them pay for parking.

Proposals to bring charges to Larkfield and Aylesford, put forward by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, have been met with fierce opposition from the local MP, who said they would deter people from using local shops and services such as the library.

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

Tracey Crouch wrote to the local authority's chief executive earlier this month, warning the suggested scheme for the Bailey Bridge or Martin Square car parks might not be legal, as it wasn't included in the council's 2018 Parking Review.

Now, she has been told, the proposed charges will not be introduced for the start of April, as many feared, after a mistake in the consultation process.

Instead, further feedback will be sought, and then considered, at the council's Street Scene and Environment Advisory Board meeting on June 9, followed by a further consultation, with a final decision expected in the autumn.

Ms Crouch added: "This is not to say the charges will never happen but it gives an immediate reprieve to the businesses, surgery patients, library users, parents and residents and maybe a more thorough and proper consultation will provide for a practical approach to parking in Martin Square and Larkfield."

A spokesman for TMBC said earlier this month: "We are in the early stages of consulting residents on these recommendations and will respond to Tracey Crouch setting out the full details of our approach.

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

"In the meantime we would encourage anyone with comments to take part and help shape our plans.

"We want to hear people’s views and any changes to the current proposals will be subject to a further consultation in the coming months."

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