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Herne Bay and Whitstable could keep free parking as city council decision looms

Free parking could be retained during key hours across Whitstable and Herne Bay after a council committee recommended scrapping a number of controversial proposals.

As part of a major shake-up across the district, the local authority revealed plans last autumn to end free stays between 8.30am and 10am in Whitstable car parks, and 6pm and 9pm in Herne Bay’s William Street car park.

Cllr Chris Cornell,Cllr Ann Kenny, local business owner Alison Clarke and Cllr Ashley Clark were outraged over the proposed charges
Cllr Chris Cornell,Cllr Ann Kenny, local business owner Alison Clarke and Cllr Ashley Clark were outraged over the proposed charges

But there is now hope the proposals could be ditched in the face of fierce opposition after the council’s policy and resources committee recommended they be shelved.

It has also suggested the authority should scrap plans to start charging in four coastal car parks ahead of a final vote on the changes by all councillors at tonight’s budget meeting.

Whitstable traders fear the loss of free parking in the mornings will be the “nail in the coffin” for the high street.

The proposal was met with criticism at the Whitstable Forum and received 281 objections from residents - with just two in support.

There are also plans to lose free evening parking in William Street, Herne Bay, although the recommendation of the committee is to continue with not charging.

Peter Vickery-Jones at William Street car park, Herne Bay
Peter Vickery-Jones at William Street car park, Herne Bay

But it did vote in favour of pushing forward with plans to ditch two hours of free parking for users of the nearby Herons Leisure Centre.

A staggering 459 objections to the plan have been received - more than for any of the council’s planned parking changes.

In response to the recommendations, Toast cafe boss Alison Clarke, a representative of local business forum Shop by the Sea, said: “I am hopeful - it is a big step in the right direction.

“The morning is one of the busiest times of the day - by far. Mums and dads will go into the town after dropping off the children and have a cup of coffee.”

The committee also recommended not to introduce charges in four coastal car parks.

Plans to introduce pay-and-display machines at Hampton car park, Swalecliffe Avenue car park, Ocean View car park and Reculver car park have received 175 objections.

It is also recommended the council keeps faith and community permits.

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay

Read more:All the latest news from Whitstable


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