A CHARITY that offers a free service to people suffering from hearing loss may have to scrap plans to come to Seaford after being told it has to pay to park its mobile bus in the centre of the town.
East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre has been visiting communities across East Sussex in its outreach bus for more than 10 years.
Residents who are deaf, deaf blind and suffer from hearing problems have the chance to discover services and facilities available to them, have hearing tests and speak to a social worker.
But the organisation recently received a letter stating it would have to pay a fee to have an area coned off where the bus could park in Broad Street, despite never being charged before to park in the town and not having to pay in other areas it visits in East Sussex.
John Leonard, managing director of the charity which is based in Eastbourne, called the saga ‘ridiculous’ and said he couldn’t understand why a charity offering a free service had been targeted in such a way.
He travelled to Seaford in the mobile bus last Thursday and had to park elsewhere.
He added, “It’s ridiculous and basically we can’t afford it.
“I drove the bus over and when I got to Broad Street there was nowhere to park and about half a dozen people waiting for me.
“I explained what had happened and they were furious.”
Thankfully on this occasion John was able to park in a nearby little twitten owned by some local traders for free but he now fears if he has to pay the charge in Seaford then he will have to do the same in other towns in East Sussex.
He added, “We’ve been in touch with the local councillors of Seaford who are extremely supportive.
“We’re extremely busy and don’t have the time and capacity to go and fight little wars.
“It’s easier for us to just not go to Seaford which is really bad because of the huge population they have there.”
A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said, “As you will appreciate, all public services are facing a real financial challenge and we have to make best use of our resources.
“Unfortunately there is a cost attached to suspending bays – as we have to monitor them to make sure they are used safely.
“It would usually cost £51 this sort of suspension.
“However, in light of the fact that this is for a charitable event, we’ve reduced the cost to £15 and we hope that this offer is helpful.”