91 per cent say no to planned Shepway on-street parking charges
AN OVERWHELMING 91 per cent of readers polled by the Folkestone Herald have voted "no" to Shepway District Council's proposed parking charges.
We gathered nearly 900 responses, from online, from coupons, and in face-to-face street interviews, to SDC's plans to charge for on-street parking in Folkestone, Hythe and New Romney.
Overall, 91 per cent of people we spoke to said they did not support SDC's plans to charge on-street, 79 per cent were against the idea of residents' parking schemes – and 80 per cent said that if the strategy goes through as it stands, they would vote differently at the next election.
Brian MacDowall, from the Association of British Drivers, said: "We applaud the Herald for going out and finding exactly what people think, and for the number of responses which indicates this is a survey the council should sit up and take notice of.
To celebrate the opening of our new offices in Canterbury and Whitstable we are offering 50% off our standard selling fees on production of this voucher.
Terms: If you have instructed another agent on a sole agency and/or sale selling rights basis, the terms of those instructions must be considered to avoid possible liability to pay two commissions.
Contact: Whitstable 01227 208268
Valid until: Monday, September 30 2013
"This is exactly what the council should have done in the first place – council surveys are usually partial and only concerning a few roads, when everyone including the district will be affected, including visitors."
Almost 400 people returned the coupons we printed in the Herald in early March, some adding comments such as: "This will kill Folkestone" and "SDC is a rubbish council and a complete shambles – would love to see them all unelected at the next election."
The online poll garnered 120 votes and our on-street survey, carried out in Folkestone, Cheriton, Hawkinge, Sandgate, the Golden Valley, Hythe and New Romney, had 350 responses.
Mr MacDowall said: "Shepway should take notice of what the people are saying and accede to their wishes. After all, the council is there to represent people's views – and the people have now expressed them."
Herald editor Simon Finlay said: "We don't claim to be a polling organisation, this is just a way to gauge the strength of feeling. We believe that nearly 900 responses, gathered in such a variety of ways, is a good cross-section of Shepway society and that the result accurately reflects the mood of the public.
"I was particularly heartened by the coupon response as this took a real effort by readers."
A spokesman for SDC said: "We carried out our own comprehensive and specifically targeted public consultation with businesses and residents in central Folkestone, where any changes would be introduced first.
"We are analysing the results, which will inform any future decisions on the strategy. As Herald readers will know, we have already decided not to introduce charges in the district's main shopping streets, but we note the results of the newspaper's survey.
"Before we reach a final decision about central Folkestone parking, we will consider all the representations received – paying particular attention to views of residents and businesses within the directly affected area who responded to our consultation.
"The January meeting of the scrutiny committee was keen to invite those it had heard from back to a future meeting. When we are able to confirm which meeting will consider the proposals, they will be invited."
More parking coverage – page 9
Comment – page 21