A pay and display machine.

Changes aim for 'fairer and more consistent' approach

Members of the public are being invited to comment on a raft of proposed changes to parking charges and arrangements in Tonbridge and Malling.

One of the key elements of the consultation is the introduction of charges to three car parks and two on-street areas which are currently free, bringing them into line with the rest of the borough. Charges would start at 60p for half an hour, rising to £3.80 for four hours. The locations are:

  • On-street parking in Swan Street and the High Street in West Malling
  • Martin Square car park, Larkfield
  • The two Bailey Bridge car parks in Aylesford

The charges will be accompanied by additional investment with 15-30 new pay and display spaces added to the Bailey Bridge East car park at Aylesford and CCTV installed at Martin Square.

Across the borough, it is also proposed to extend the end of the charging period from 6pm to 8pm and to include Sundays and Bank Holidays. Overnight parking would remain free.

Other changes include switching on-street parking in Avebury Avenue, Tonbridge, to permit holders only, extending loading bay restrictions outside Tesco in West Malling until 8pm daily and an across-the-board increase to parking permit fees and hourly charges, which were last raised two years ago.

The proposals, approved for consultation by the council’s cabinet on 8 November, come as a result of sharp increases in the overheads for operating car parks. These include costs such as car park maintenance and business rates of £320,000 and £295,000 per year respectively. 

Respondents to the consultation will also be invited to give views on plans to provide extra parking spaces close to Tonbridge town centre. The withdrawal of KCC services from Tonbridge Castle next year will enable visitor spaces to be switched to pay and display while longer term plans could see an expansion of nearby Upper Castle Field car park at a cost of around £180,000.

Cllr Martin Coffin, Cabinet member for Transformation and Infrastructure, said: ‘We hope as many people as possible get involved in the consultation. While no one likes seeing price increases, we have to cover the costs of providing this service and welcome both feedback on our proposals and constructive comments if there are better ideas for how to do this.   

‘The changes will also see a fairer and more consistent charging regime apply across our car parks so that the cost of delivering this service is shared more equally among users. Where we have introduced charging, we see more turnover in use of spaces, leading to increased footfall in the local shops and facilities.’

The consultation runs from 24 November 2023 to 7 January 2024.

View details of the car park proposals and take part in the consultation 

View details of the on street parking proposals and take part in the consultation


Published: Friday, 24th November 2023