A Thanet takeaway and restaurant owner says the council is penalising businesses at The Centre in Margate by charging £1,000 per year for parking permits and then later saying no permits would be available until next April.
Added to the on-off parking are new signs saying parking and loading is banned at the site which is at the rear of Thanet council’s offices.
Matt Day, who opened Day’s Grills restaurant and bar at The Centre in July, says businesses will suffer if they are unable to use the space for deliveries and has accused Thanet council of placing an unnecessary financial burden on small traders with the ‘inflated’ parking fee.
Matt, 32, first received a letter from TDC in August saying seven bays were available at the rear of the offices at a price of £1,000 per bay per year, plus VAT and business rates.
But Matt, who lives in Broadstairs, says the parking was included in his lease agreement and challenged Thanet council to supply him with the proof that a Traffic Regulation Order had been agreed to allow such charges.
This month traders received a new letter from Thanet council stating parking at the site was suspended except to “authorised vehicles” with “a valid parking permit.” This will be the case until the reserved bays have been approved in the annual fees and charges, which will not come into force until April 1.
Matt, who also has a Day’s Grills branch at Manston and another due to open in Hastings, said: “In a time when Thanet council should be helping small and very new business they are just causing a financial burden for us to go about our day to day activities.
“We can’t park without a permit but we can’t get a permit until April. The signs now state no unloading so we can’t even do that. This will make all the businesses suffer if we abide to it.
“The parking spaces are to the rear of our building. The lease agreement states the spaces are for the tenants of The Centre.
“When I first challenged this TDC sent a letter to all businesses stating we would need to apply for a permit and that it would cost £1000 per year. I believe this did not go to a committee to review the fees and charges nor did the councillors agree this.
“Parking there has apparently worked fine for 15 years so why the change now? Small businesses are trying to help the regeneration of Thanet, especially during this pandemic. Why aren’t TDC supporting this?
“Why do they even want to charge business rates on a parking space, they don’t charge that on any other business permits across Thanet. The charges they have set are not relative to other business permits in Thanet that cost a few hundred pounds. I feel penalised by TDC. They should be doing everything they can to help small businesses. I don’t mind paying for a permit but I feel it should be a standard cost across Thanet.”
The latest communication from Thanet council has now resulted in no parking being allowed on the plot unless by ‘authorised vehicles’ as Matt found out when he was issued with a ticket this month.
He said: “I have appealed the ticket and asked to see the traffic regulation order for that area.”
A Thanet council spokesperson said: The area behind the council building, just off the B2055, is private land owned by Thanet District Council. The lease with the Centre’s managers (LCP Group) and their tenants does not include parking.
“ It is not currently a public car park and at present no income is generated from bays in this area.
“Given the interest from some businesses who back onto this land, we are offering them the opportunity to apply for an annual license for a designated parking bay. An annual fee of £1,000 is in line with other parking bays licensed to businesses in our public car parks, such as Crofts Place.
“The rear yard of the council offices is, and has historically been, included in the Off Street Traffic Regulation Order. This is viewable on our website Parking and Roads.
“Temporary signage has been put up so that drivers are clear about the restricted parking.”
Parking is one thing, but to restrict loading and unloading to the businesses who have an historical right-of-way through the yard is something else. The only option left for them is to load and unload in the pedestrian precinct where service vehicles are often parked. If drivers are allowed to get away with parking on pavements and promenades all through the summer time then why not at the rear of the council offices for those who have a business reason?
TDC, stop being pedantic about this and look at the predicament you place on them.
Sounds about right for TDC.
Parking nomarks in ramsgate now giving tkts to cars loading from Danish furnisher in high st. On the basis that only commercial vehicles can load up.keep finding ways to cripple local business TDC!
Bring back Connor Gorham delivery driver of the year
TDC eh… Funny they can stop law abiding citizens nah business owners parking but when it comes to travellers invading Botany Bay … Look the other way…
May not be an expert, but then I doubt that Mr Day or any of the other commentators are, but the sign restricts unauthorised PARKING. Not loading or unloading. Having read the traffic regulation order for the area online, commercial vehicles can stop to load and unload. Just not park!
Typical of the bully boy culture at TDC – it’s not only staff but the council tax payers too who get it in the teeth.
As for the TDC parking regime it is a shambles run on the presumption that vehicle owners are to be demonised and milked for every penny.
Sack the lot of them!
Dearest Cllr Steve Albon should be shedding some light on this very ‘own goal’ issue.
This annual fee is more than they sold parking spaces in Market Street car park for…