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Ashdown Forest - beware if you visit

The_Slithy_Tove
The_Slithy_Tove Posts: 4,024 Forumite
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edited 5 September 2022 at 12:47PM in Parking tickets, fines & parking
The Ashdown Forest in East Sussex has decided to introduce parking charges for their car parks, which have, up to now, been free. As one who grew up in the area and visited often, it's sad it's come to this, but as with everywhere, money is tight. And apparently during lockdown, people really took the p*** and caused damage and great strain on the facilities.

Anyway, as I had feared, they have decided to bring in a PPC, which we know is not good news for anyone (apart from the PPC itself). It's Horizon, which is hardly one of the better ones (if that is possible). But it should mean easy wins against them :-).

The planning application for all the signage etc has been submitted here: Planning and Building Control - Wealden District Council. It's a good thing they've actually bothered to do this. Not sure if they've realised they also need advertising consent, if I'm right.

Looking at the application, some things in favour of the knowledgeable parker:
  • The signage in the planning application is woefully inadequate, with only one sign per entrance and a single tariff sign per car park. So while some of the car parks are small, you won't necessarily be able to see signage from all parts of every car park.
  • Looks like no ANPR (nothing on the planning application, and would be very costly as there are so many car parks), so it'll be patrols instead. That removes double dips and the like, but not mis-keying or being unable to get a phone signal to use the apps out in remote areas.
  • The car parks do not have marked bays, so no "outside bay" tickets, though there is the nebulous term "obstructive parking" used
While the Ashdown Forest itself is subject to Byelaws, it's not a POFA Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Parking itself is not subject to statutory control, i.e. none of the Byelaws relates to parking. So the car parks are still "relevant land".

It would be interesting to know what kind of contract the Conservators of the Ashdown Forest have signed up to. How are Horizon paid? Are they going to abide by the new Code of Conduct, even if it's not in force? Will they be allowed to proceed to court for unpaid charges? Do the Conservators realise what they've let themselves in for?

Comments

  • Le_Kirk
    Le_Kirk Posts: 22,232 Forumite
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    This featured in the thread about parking issues in the news last week : -
    Parking stories in the News/media.
    As I said on that thread, what would Winnie the Pooh think?
  • Castle
    Castle Posts: 4,179 Forumite
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    While the Ashdown Forest itself is subject to Byelaws, it's not a POFA Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Parking itself is not subject to statutory control, i.e. none of the Byelaws relates to parking. So the car parks are still "relevant land".


    I think Byelaw 3 would suggest otherwise, (my BOLD):-
    Byelaw 3. No person shall camp upon the Forest , whether in cars , campers , tents , caravans or sleeping bags . Without written permission from the Conservators, no one will park any vehicle on the Forest between the hours of midnight and 6am.


  • Castle said:I think Byelaw 3 would suggest otherwise, (my BOLD):-
    Byelaw 3. No person shall camp upon the Forest , whether in cars , campers , tents , caravans or sleeping bags . Without written permission from the Conservators, no one will park any vehicle on the Forest between the hours of midnight and 6am.


    How did I miss that? I only saw #2 which tells you to keep off the Forest in your car (apart from car parks). You're right, and even the signage indicates the opening hours. So, no POFA after all :-).

    I bet the apps will still allow you to pay for an hour's parking at midnight, even though it should deny it. I also suspect that some dog walkers are up there before 6am in the summer. And for the dog walkers and the like we have the £80 annual fee. But what happens if you use a different car, or change cars? Can you transfer the "annual pass" to another vehicle (we all know the answer there)?

    I see the parking charge for non-conformance is £70, so they're not even thinking about the new CoP.

    Most of the roads have no yellow lines at present, as they are not needed. I wonder if the council will have to get out their yellow paint when people start to park on (and cause problems on) the roads. This particularly when they start parking on the verges (which is against the Byelaws)

    Le_Kirk said:
    This featured in the thread about parking issues in the news last week : -
    Parking stories in the News/media.
    As I said on that thread, what would Winnie the Pooh think?
    That thread is way too busy! Pooh would say "bother". Eeyore would say how sad it is that Horizon are coming to infest the forest.
  • Castle
    Castle Posts: 4,179 Forumite
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    The original proposals, (section 7.2), suggest that the PPC will be paid 20% of gross revenues after VAT, (it excludes any mention about the income from what they call "non-compliance penalties":-
    https://ashdownforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Car-Park-Charging-Proposal-and-Business-Case.pdf
  • The_Slithy_Tove
    The_Slithy_Tove Posts: 4,024 Forumite
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    edited 14 March at 10:25PM
    Resurrecting my very old thread with an update on the scheme introduced on the Ashdown Forest. A report has been issued on the first year of operations of the scheme, which gives some insights on how the scheme is run.
    Ashdown-Forest-Paid-Parking-Year-1-report.pdf (ashdownforest.org)

    Things I noted were
    • Looks like the Ashdown Forest people pay Horizon a fee for running the scheme rather than Horizon relying on Parking Charges (which is a good thing). This aligns with Castle's comment above about a 20% fee.
    • Just as well, as they issued fewer than 50 PCNs (probably low because they are not incentivised that way). Since they rely on physical patrols, I imagine many people "get away with it" by not paying and taking their chances. It also explains why we haven't seen cases here.
    • PCN fees don't go to Horizon, and are very low (£886) meaning that most were probably not paid.
    • The number of annual passes bought is indicative of the fact that many (most?) uses of the car parks are by locals who go there multiple times of year. It's a popular dog walking area.
    I think the revenues are a massive boost to the overall funding of the Conservators. Despite the opposition to introduction of charges, it shows it can be done sensibly.
  • Coupon-mad
    Coupon-mad Posts: 131,140 Forumite
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    Interesting to see what sounds like a good parking management model.  So rarely seen!
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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