Search

‘Teething problems’ with car parking rules lead to calls for review

PUBLISHED: 07:45 17 November 2020

Changes to car parking arrangements in East Suffolk have significantly cut illegal parking, but other issues with permits have surfaced. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Changes to car parking arrangements in East Suffolk have significantly cut illegal parking, but other issues with permits have surfaced. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

“Teething problems” with new car parking rules in East Suffolk have led councillors to recommend a review into the latest system.

Beccles and Worlingham councillor Caroline Topping said carers could not get parking permits for any more than 20 days each month. Picture: GLI GROUPBeccles and Worlingham councillor Caroline Topping said carers could not get parking permits for any more than 20 days each month. Picture: GLI GROUP

Civil parking enforcement powers transferred from the police to East Suffolk Council in April, freeing up police resources and allowing local authorities to combat nuisance parking more stringently.

While the switch has helped to clamp down on illegal parking in many problem areas, with more than 8,000 fines issued in around six months, other problems over car park charges and permit schemes have emerged.

MORE: Tougher parking enforcement begins across Suffolk

Chief among those are that free 30-minute car parking is now only available once a day, while the cost of some car park permits have ballooned.

Carers also say they can only use permits for 20 days out of every 30 for visiting people they are supporting, while there have also been questions over how accessible signs are for wheelchair users.

East Suffolk Council is trying to encourage people to use the RinGo app to pay for car parking.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNEast Suffolk Council is trying to encourage people to use the RinGo app to pay for car parking. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Problems have been also reported with the RingGo phone app, which people are encouraged to use to pay for parking.

You may also want to watch:

At a special meeting of the council’s scrutiny committee on Monday night, Felixstowe councillor Tracey Green said: “The [illegal] street parking has really cleared up and driven people to the car parks, and that has really made quite a difference in the town centre.”

But councillor Caroline Topping said permits for carers had been an issue, particularly when residents without internet access applying for visitor permits have not been able to use the phone line on weekends or after 8pm.

Councillor Steve Gallant said some of the changes were more environmentally friendly. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCILCouncillor Steve Gallant said some of the changes were more environmentally friendly. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

She said: “If you have carers that, for example, work six days a week, that equals 24 days but their permit only lasts for 20 days.”

Councillor Mike Deacon said: “As the general public see it, they see a huge hike in the season ticket passes.”

According to a council report ahead of the meeting, the annual car park charges were not standardised prior to the transfer of enforcement powers.

That meant the Sizewell car park was as little as £25, while others in the district were as much as £400.

MORE: Parking ‘perk’ lost in permit shake-up

A standard rate has now been introduced, but that has resulted in some car parks having annual passes skyrocketing in price.

The committee has made a series of recommendations, including a review of annual car park prices, simplifying the online system for permits, considering contactless payment and bringing in a paper permit scheme for those who do not use the internet.

Norman Brooks, cabinet member for transport, said the team had done a very good job to make the changes in such a short space of time - but added: “There are teething problems which we are working very hard to sort, and we will continue to do so.”

Mr Brooks also hailed the reduction in illegal parking across the district, which had been “one of the driving values” of the changeover.

Council leader Steve Gallant said the move towards using RingGo was more environmentally friendly and more efficient for motorists, while reducing free 30-minute parking to just one per day for motorists was aimed at encouraging them to use their cars less.

A date for East Suffolk Council’s cabinet to assess the recommendations has not yet been given, but it is unlikely to be before spring next year.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times