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image credit: Vehicles of Yesteryear 2017, Christine Racher

Five homegrown mini-festivals are planned for Pevensey and Pevensey Bay in 2020. The key event weekend in the community calendar is going to be the VEDay75 Celebration during the new May Bank Holiday weekend that will take place from Friday May 8 – Sunday May 10.

What will be happening in the locailty could involve many public houses and venues and will be part of a national celebration when 75 years will mark the day that the guns fell silent in Europe.

The mini-festivals taking place in the locality here in 2020 will mark a step change for the community that will bring new visitors, possibly we will be seeing as many as 5,000-10,000 new visitors.

They are joining our original homegrown festival, the Vehicles of Yesteryear, that takes place on the first Saturday of April each year in the Sea Road Car Park.

We understand that decisions about the future of the Sea Road Car Park have now been made by Wealden Council. These decisions have been made behind closed doors.

There have been concerns expressed by Pevensey Parish Council.

In a report to the Council, dated 7 November, chairman Councillor Peter Lowton, provided an update to council on the recent meeting between the Chairman and Clerk and Wealden District Council, concerning their future plans for Sea Road Car Park in Pevensey Bay.

In his report he set out the parish council “aspirations” for Sea Road Car Park which he advised to be forwarded to WDC’s Asset Management Group.

He said, “members will be aware that Pevensey Parish Council have administered Sea Road Car Park on behalf of WDC since 1993. In return WDC have paid PPC 33% of the car park takings. This amounts currently to approximately £10,100 gross or £8,220 net a year and forms an essential part of the Parish Council’s budget.

Wealden Council said that there would be an ‘options’ document discussed at a meeting in December. The meeting did not happen because of the General Election.

Wealden Council told the Pevensey Bay Journal, “The meeting, which was scheduled for 8 December, had to be postponed due to the General Election. We are aware of the importance of the car park and the role it plays supporting the local tourist economy. We will be discussing the paper put forward by the parish council when we meet, and will be in contact with PPC once any decisions have been made”.

We understand that the decision has now been made. Wealden Council is to take full control of the Sea Road Car Park

There has been no consultation with Pevensey Parish Council, any interested parties in Pevensey Bay or with the community.

The aspirations of Pevensey Parish Council and the £10,000 that forms an essential part of the parish council budget is now under threat.

This is a pro-active, full on, fully engaged parish council that is connecting with the community big time in a number of ways.

They are a year into a three year plan that has been received well by residents.

There are mini-festivals planned, the encouragement of community initiatives and there has been a survey about what is essential to residents, which was well received and saw a positive response rate.

If Wealden Council takes full control of the Sea Road Car Park, securing all the income for the authority, the consequences for this community will be significant.

The good work being developed here by the parish council with their three year plan is now under threat.

Most importantly, the Sea Road Car Park in Pevensey Bay is a social asset as well as an economic asset, and plays a vital role as part of our visitor destination profile.

What will now happen with the future of the three year plan put forward by Pevensey Parish Council?

What will happen with the yearly Vehicles of Yesteryear event, our original homegrown festival that brings up to 1,000 visitors to the Bay every year on the Big Day Out?

What will happen to other events planned at the Sea Road Car Park?

What will happen with the Information Centre based in the car park?

The absence of any kind of consultation or communication abut the future of the Sea Road Car Park by Wealden Council has been a shock to this community.

Wealden Council has acknowledged the importance of the Sea Road Car Park to the local tourist economy. Without a proportion of the income from the car parking fees coming to this community, much more is at stake here than just the income.

Without direct involvement in the planning of events at the Sea Road Car Park much more is lost than just the potential for events.

What is at stake in some ways is the fragile profile of Pevensey Bay as a visitor destination.

Wealden Council has been honest and direct with comunications with Bay Life over ten years. Their responses to the concerns of the community have been measured and most importantly they have engaged in meaningful debate with residents.

The same has been true of their communications with the Pevensey Bay Journal over the last two and a half years.

What happens with the Sea Road Car Park is critical to the future of this community.

We are calling on Wealden Council today to organise a public meeting at which the future of the Sea Road Car Park can be discussed by all parties, including the Parish Council, interested parties and residents.

What happens next is not just about the Vehicles of Yesteryear but the Vehicles of Tomorrow as well.