Thanet council’s plan for even more parking charges is infuriating people across the isle

Westgate residents, business owners and the town council say the charges will kill trade

Groups across the isle have voiced their anger at yet more proposals to hike parking fees in Thanet.

Tomorrow (April 27) Cabinet members at Thanet District Council will discuss plans to change free car parks and on-street parking areas to pay and display.

The three phase scheme covers five car parks and on-street bays across Thanet.

It follows the implementation of a hike in car parking charges brought in earlier this month.

A petition against the charges raised by resident Roy Irving has already collected enough signatures to mean it will be heard by councillors.

Now businesses, residents and parish councils in Minster and Westgate have joined the protest.

Westgate petition

A Westgate petition has already been signed by more than 300 people and includes at least 35 business owners.

In a statement they said the plans will “kill trade” and added that the proposals were “disastrous.”

A statement from Westgate Town Council says: “Thanet District Council Cabinet is proposing to introduce parking charges throughout the district and this will mean that Westgate will no longer have free parking.  TDC had previously said that the parking would remain free in Westgate as we don’t have a town car park.

“Shops and residents are appalled at this and are fighting back with a petition.  The Town Council is leading the fight as we believe this will have a negative impact  on our town’s retailers and business.”

Petitions are available to sign in various shops (including Frederick’s) and at 34 Station Road. An application for a Thanet council e-petition has been made.

The sentiments have been echoed by Minster residents and those in Broadstairs and Thanet Labour Party members are calling for a halt to both the parking charge and asset sell-off plans due for discussion at the meeting tomorrow.

‘Balancing the budget’

Thanet council says the scheme will create cash that: “could be used to invest into further parking schemes, help maintain our current parking stock and give investment to use existing and new technology for our current parking provision.”

It anticipates additional annual revenue to Thanet council of £90k and the proposed future phases for on street schemes could bring in additional annual revenue of approximately £300k per year. The aim is to plug the gap left by cuts to council grants from central government.

Gavin Waite, Director of Operational Services, said: “Balancing the budget is a key council priority and, as part of this, we have been reviewing how we can be more efficient at generating income, and not simply cut services to residents. There has been an extensive review of parking provision and demands across the district with members making the difficult decision to increase parking charges and now to explore introducing pay and display and new resident parking schemes.

“The proposed areas have been selected based on feedback from residents and business about heavily parked areas and traffic flows. Introducing these schemes would ensure a higher turnover of vehicles to ease parking problems and encourage road users to use off-street car parks that would benefit many of the people who live and work in Thanet.”

Protests have also been made about the addition of  Quarterdeck youth club and the Garden Gate Project sites to Thanet council’s asset disposal list. This will also be discussed at the meeting.

What’s next

If Cabinet approves the recommendations, residents and businesses will have 28 days in which to make comment on the schemes and express their views.

Find the full list of areas proposed for parking fees here