Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tonbridge (and Malling) council stop robbing Tonbridge shoppers....

I went shopping in Maidstone last Sunday. It not a crime so don't have a go! Anyway that's not the point of the story. I'm not sure whether all parking in Maidstone is charged in the same way but in the car park nearest the Fremlin Walk shopping street they let you take a ticket on the way in and pay at a machine just before you get back in your car to leave. As that annoying Compare the Meercat says: Simple! It worked for me, because I didn't know on arrival whether I'd stay two hours or five. As it turned out I stayed about four and the charge was £2.80. You see that to me is so much more sensible than having to guess how long you need, paying the charge, and then not having enough time to do all the shopping you need to do so rushing back to the car where if you're lucky you won't find one of those yellow sticky parking fine notices on your wind screen. So Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council my message is plain: Stop wasting resources on Civil Parking Enforcement Officers, or whatever the hell it is you call them now, if you're not going to make parking free in Tonbride then install exit-timed barriers so that shoppers can stay as long as they wish without fear of fines, stop discouraging shoppers from Tonbridge when the town needs them more badly than ever. Go on, take a long term view on things instead of taking the easy option, because £300,000 on parking fines, I'll wager mainly from overstays, at car parks is just not acceptable....

11 comments:

andys-pens said...

I was amazed at the bill board which is near the Smart garage in Tonbridge today. It's advertising wonderful shopping at Bluewater. Thanks for all the support us traders receive. What's it telling the shoppers of Tonbridge - Don't bother shopping here head to Bluewater.

Paul Bailey said...

Couldn't agree with you more on this one T.B. I normally make a point of walking down the town on a Saturday, as I strongly object to paying for parking my car.
Today, I had a lot of shopping to get, so unfortunately was left with little choice but to cough up and swell TMBC's over-loaded coffers. Like you point out, I had to guess how much time I would need, and thought one hour would be enough. (I only had enough change for this period anyway - that's another thing that really annoys me about our car-parks, the wretched machines don't give change!) I only just made it out of Sainsbury's in time, and had to abandon the other errand I had planned.
I've long held the view that car-parking should be free, but no doubt our scrooge council would disagree. They're more interested in fleecing the motorist than attracting extra shoppers to the town. So much for helping local businesses, and yet these town-hall dictators are the ones who are supposed to be looking after the interests of local people.

Delia said...

I agree with both andyspens (btw the shop is looking good) and Paul Bailey on both the shopping and the parking charges. I now make sure I don't EVER pay for parking in Tonbridge whenever possible. I do my shopping in the evening when I don't have to pay or I'll walk into town for smaller things. I feel gratification that every time I do that I have done 'them' out of 80p to £1 - it works out to quite a lot during a year. I have decided never ever to speed in my car or allow the little Hitlers to stick a parking ticket on my car either. They are getting nothing out of me and I shall just keep playing them at their own game.
Parking should be free but I agree if it is in force we should have a system in place to pay on exit.

andys-pens said...

Thank You Delia

Anonymous said...

One car park is free from noon on Saturdays but I am not going to tell you where! At least Sundays is a free parking day unlike Tun Wells. You could also shop in Oldham where they have halved the charges as have many other places.

Tonbridge blogger said...

I think that some people really do resent paying the 80p and that is one issue. But, if we are to pay then don't make shoppers impose limits on themselves as they always tend to underestimate the time they need. Surely the council wants to encourage people to stay as long as possible to drive much needed trade in Tonbridge town centre. Afterall the longer people stay, if there's a pay on exit system, then the more they'd get in charges anyway. Also people wouldn't feel so resentful that they are being checked up on by the officious Parking attandants who are ever ready to pounce! Just doing their jobs of course!

The Tomahawk Kid said...

It's obvious that parking in Tonbridge should be free. There is nothing to attract people into Tonbridge to shop (apart from that excellent bookshop) so surely every effort should be made to try and get as many people shopping as possible. If you have to pay for parking anyway are you going to shop in Tonbridge or in Tunbridge Wells (or even Sevenoaks)? For most people it's a no brainer.

It is morally wrong that the car park ticket machines don't give change - it's theft! They should either use the system TB suggests or perhaps use a system like a parking meter, whereby you get credited with time based on how much you put in. Surely it's not rocket science?

By the way, it's the swimming pool car park that is free after 12.30 on Saturday (I know - I will never find a space there again now!)

Anonymous said...

tonbridge and malling council are tight arses!! there is no free car parks in this town anymore, and them traffic wardens sorry enforcment officers dont get me started on them, especially that woman the one who looks like a man!!!

Paul Bailey said...

Like Delia, I also tend to do use my car for shopping, in the evenings or on Sundays. This is fine for the supermarkets, but not very good for the town's independent shops who I feel I ought to be supporting.

Perhaps we had both better keep quiet about this avoidance of car-parking charges, otherwise TMBC might follow the examples of their neighbours in Sevenoaks, and introduce evening charges; or that of Tunbridge Wells, who now charge motorists for parking on Sundays. (I normally take the train over when shopping in the latter).

delia said...

I agree with Paul Bailey that we should try to support all local shops and tradesmen if possible however if you take a mental trip around the High Street there really aren't that many and that is probably due to such high rents. It is really a vicious circle and I have such sympathy for local businesses. It is very brave to take a gamble to trade in Tonbridge High Street and it should be instrumental for our Council to value this and help as much as possible. They should pull their socks up as their attitude is destructive.
The little clusters of shops like Martin Hardie or York Parade offer quite good shopping. I do drive there occasionally for meat and bread and other things. The parking is free there and although it gets very busy there is always somewhere to park if you don't mind using your legs. The Friday Market in Lamberts Yards is always worth a look and so are the markets at Hildenborough, Shipbourne and Penshurst.
Now what happened to that great idea of an ice rink at the castle and a surrounding Christmas market. That could have brought in 4 weeks of pre Christmas trade.

Jeremy said...

Isn't the answer that paying on the way out works fine in multi-story carparks where there is a barrier to go through, but the Tonbridge car parks aren't like that, so regular pay and display is sensible enough? Or have Maidstone come up with something pretty clever?