Councillors have backed a plan for St Edmundsbury Borough Council to take over street parking enforcement from the police from 2019.
The plan across Suffolk is for boroughs and districts to get civil parking enforcement (CPE) powers, which legally must be granted to the county council who then licence it to them. Boroughs and districts are currently only handle enforcement in car parks,
At the council’s full meeting last night several councillors spoke of their own and their constituents’ frustration over illegal parking.
Paul Hopfensperger, who last week Tweeted a picture of a truck parked on the pavement so he could barely open his business’ front door, said: “This can’t come quick enough.
“People don’t at the moment understand why the police aren’t enforcing this and the reason is the money goes to central Government.”
John Burns said that people had called for civil parking enforcement at a Safer Neighbourhood Team meeting in Haverhiil four years ago.
“If we had done that we wouldn’t be in this position today with police quite correctly not doing parking enforcement.”
But he also called on the agreement with the county to be beefed up to make sure the county brought signage and yellow lines up to standard.
David Nettleton asked when the county would be carrying out a review of signs and lines, adding: “It’s very difficult to persuade Western Area Highways to do anything, even routine maintenance, because they’re saying they haven’t got the money for anything.”
He also urged the council not to ‘go round beating people straight away’ when it took over enforcement, because drivers had had so long without it, and called for parking services staff not to be put under pressure to raise income.
But Robert Everitt urged drivers to be more responsible and keep to the law.
Council leader John Griffiths said the county repairing signs and lines was ‘part of the deal’ and stressed that CPE applied to Haverhill and villages as well as Bury St Edmunds.
He added: “Until this is complete it remains the statutory duty of the police. [Police and crime commissioner] Tim Passmore has agreed to step up enforcement in the interim.
“I doubt it’s going to become a money spinner – the more you enforce it, the fewer people are going to do it.”
Peter Stevens, cabinet member for operations, said the reason it would not start until 2019 was so signs and lines could be upgraded.
The council voted unanimously in favour.