Shepway residents vote on changes to free parking

Residents in Shepway have been to the polls to vote on whether free parking should be abolished in some areas.

Three parish polls on changes to parking in Folkestone, Sandgate and Hythe, took place in the Shepway District Council area.

Residents cast their votes in polls between 16:00 and 21:00 GMT.

The district council is currently consulting on changes to its parking strategy, which have proved unpopular with many residents.

Kay McLoughlin, from the campaign group Keep Shepway's Streets Free, said: "We want to keep our free parking as an incentive for people to come to our town and enjoy our town.

"If you want someone to come somewhere you don't turn around and say we're going to charge you now.

'Not broke'

"I'm hoping the referendum will show the council there's a strong feeling about this and people aren't happy about it. I don't know why they've even suggested the idea - if something's not broke why fix it."

Robert Bliss, leader of the council, said the proposed parking strategy would encourage more people to visit the area to shop.

"We want to make it easier to find convenient parking for that quick trip to the shops," he said.

"We believe that one way of achieving this might be to offer free parking for a short period and at the same time lower costs in our car parks for those people who want a longer shopping trip."

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