Chairman of Otford Parish Council, John Edwards Winser, says:
The car park continues to be a contentious issue, but as I keep on saying, we will not be able to fully satisfy all of the stakeholder’s requirements whatever system we employ. At the moment we have settled on a pay and display system that will be run for the parish by a qualified operator. There will not be vast profits made, but we must cover the operating costs and any excess will be available for the parish.
On no account must the Parish office staff be exposed to any complaints or disputes and abusive members of the public will not be tolerated. These conditions can only be guaranteed by a licensed independent operator.
What we have not settled on is the parking costs. Following two open surgeries (thanks to those who attended) it has been suggested that a working group representing stakeholder interests be organised to try to resolve the issues of concern with the Council. However, at the end of the day to do nothing is an option we hope to avoid, especially as the school will be expanding next September and as a result more parents will be “dropping off” their children and long-term staff parking will increase.
It is expected that the Pay & Display will be held in abeyance until the working group has reported back to the Parish Council. If, however, the demands of the various interested parties prove irreconcilable with the Pay and Display scheme then we will have no option but to cease our attempts to improve parking in the village car park and inevitably, the present chaotic situation will not only persist but deteriorate further.
I would like to assure everyone that all councillors work tirelessly in the interests of the village working many hours on your behalf and receiving no pay. The problem of the car park is an extremely complex one to deal with and we are doing our best in difficult circumstances. We will inform you of developments through the Parish newsletter but not the minutiae of discussions. It could be that another open meeting is convened, but the representations from a working group are likely to provide a more effective and efficient way forward in terms of a village wide consensus of opinion.”