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Districts plan greater clampdown on illegal parking with new action plan

PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 February 2019

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils are eyeing more stringent parking enforcement with the new joint area parking plan. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils are eyeing more stringent parking enforcement with the new joint area parking plan. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Two Suffolk councils will next week decide on a joint parking plan which proposes to clamp down harder on illegal parking.

John Ward said for rural communities like Babergh and Mid Suffolk, effective parking enforcement was important. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNJohn Ward said for rural communities like Babergh and Mid Suffolk, effective parking enforcement was important. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The joint parking plan will go before both Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s respective cabinet meetings this week, and form the blueprint of parking enforcement when powers eventually transfer from the police force to the districts.

If approved at this week’s cabinet meetings, the plan will go to a public consultation which runs for six weeks.

The two councils said there were no increases in parking charges planned, but would give greater powers to tackle illegal parking.

Councillor David Burn, Mid Suffolk’s cabinet member for environment, said: “In drafting this policy we wanted to focus on how we can allow drivers to park safely without creating problems for local residents.

“It’s about how we make parking easier and less obstructive for everyone involved, not about charging or payments.”

Currently, police do not have enough resources to enforce parking restrictions, with the change over to councils aiming to allow more stringent enforcement and fewer instances of illegal parking.

Councillor John Ward, Babergh District Council leader, added: “In rural areas such as Babergh, cars provide a vital link that keep communities connected. In recognising this, we have to create an environment in which the end of a car journey is made as simple as leaving home at the start.

“This isn’t about parking charges: it’s about the need to have a clear, comprehensive policy on parking across Babergh and with cabinet’s approval that is what the consultation will set out to achieve.”

The plan also confirmed that parking wardens from West Suffolk and Ipswich councils would carry out enforcement in the Babergh and Mid Suffolk districts, as a means of keeping costs down.

But Babergh’s Labour group raised concerns over potential charges in the future.

“The Babergh Labour group welcomes the intentions to bring parking enforcement to our streets but we now want to see action,” said councillor Luke Cresswell.

“This issue should have been addressed five or more years ago and so the Conservatives shouldn’t be expecting to receive praise for their years of failure.

“The Babergh Labour group welcome the decision not to introduce car parking charges at this time but residents will note that there is no commitment to keep free parking for the whole of the next council [when elected in May].”

Mid Suffolk’s cabinet meets on Monday, February 4 before Babergh discusses the issue two days later.

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