Parking charges referendum vetoed

Council chiefs have decided not to hold a referendum on controversial plans to introduce parking charges in Eastbourne in East Sussex.

The borough council had suggested a referendum after residents and businesses voiced their opposition to the plans, but East Sussex County Council said a vote could cost up to £60,000 and would be a waste of taxpayers' money.

The plans had already been subject to two major public consultations, in 2003 and 2006, which were open for anyone to respond to, the council added.

According to county councillor Matthew Lock, similar parking charge schemes introduced in Hastings and Lewes had successfully cut traffic levels. Bus use has risen by 18% in Hastings and revenue from off-street car parks has increased in Lewes, he said.

Mr Lock added that Eastbourne had seen a rise in traffic and congestion because of a lack of street parking controls.

A decision on whether to introduce the traffic orders will be made by the county council's planning committee on September 22.

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