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Parking abuses in Haverhill could be curbed within a few months after encouraging news from Westminster

The legislation that would enable West Suffolk Council to enforce parking regulations in Haverhill is expected to be passed through Parliament in January.

And the announcement that a date has been tabled for the legislation to go to the House of Commons has been welcomed in Haverhill, where the abuse of parking restrictions in the High Street has long been a major issue.

Traditionally, roadside parking offences were a matter for Suffolk Constabulary.

A view of Haverhill High Street on an early Monday afternoon. Picture by Steve Barton
A view of Haverhill High Street on an early Monday afternoon. Picture by Steve Barton

However, parking has become a lower priority for them, so Suffolk County Council (SCC) is taking on this responsibility under a process known as Civil Parking Enforcement, or CPE, and then delegating the day-to-day management to district and borough councils – in Haverhill’s case West Suffolk Council.

Moving the responsibility from the police to local councils requires that statutory notice is given in Parliament – planned to take place during January 2020 – in advance of starting CPE.

Despite the closure of Parliament for about six weeks – as of November 6 – to allow for the General Election to take place it is hoped the statutory notice will not get held up any further.

Cllr John Burns, Mayor of Haverhill, said: “I still think SCC are being optimistic but it will be nice to be proven wrong as this is something we have desperately been waiting for during the past six years and constantly frustrated every time we think it is coming.”

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, a staunch backer of CPE, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see progress being made at last.

“There has been quite a delay in getting this sorted, so it is great to finally have a date for implementation.

“The council-run parking teams will, without doubt, provide more effective parking enforcement than the police because it will be their main focus – we have seen this in Ipswich where parking enforcement was de-criminalised some years ago.

“Moving the responsibility for parking to local authorities will free up police time for them to deal with more urgent issues, which makes perfect sense and that is why I committed £190,000 from the constabulary’s reserves to help establish the scheme.”

CPE has been running successfully in Ipswich since 2005; both Ipswich Borough and the neighbouring councils have been heavily involved in the planning stages to ensure a smooth implementation county-wide.

The change will bring many benefits, including:

n greater priority given to parking management locally, to help keep traffic moving;

n district and borough councils empowered to make local decisions in collaboration with towns and parish councils on parking to suit their constituents and local circumstances;

n irresponsible and nuisance parking being enforced – supporting pedestrians, vulnerable road users, public transport services, drivers and emergency services to use the network more safely;

n fines associated with parking will be retained in Suffolk – so local towns and parishes will be able to benefit from improved local infrastructure;

n new jobs created county-wide to support parking management, patrols and enforcement.

Councillor Andrew Reid, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, said: “Civil parking enforcement powers will soon sit with our district and borough councils across Suffolk.

“It is essential in enabling our communities to have closer management of their local parking challenges.

“A lot of residents come to us with concerns that people parking in their towns and villages are becoming more inconsiderate, and something needs to be done about it – we agree and, as a result, are committed to seeing these parking issues managed locally to ensure fair and safe parking for all.

“I very much welcome the cross-council collaborative working in order to deliver better parking for the residents and those visiting Suffolk.

“Our colleagues will continue working together to ensure CPE is successfully launched and I look forward to seeing the benefits locally that these changes will bring.”

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