Officials say transfer of parking to council control is a ‘no brainer’


Saxmundham - Credit: Archant

Community leaders in east Suffolk are fearing a parking “free for all” if the police stop enforcing on-street restrictions before councils agree a new system to deal with the issue.

Town and parish councillors claim fining drivers for on-street parking offences is no longer a priority for Suffolk Constabulary and the force is planning to hand over responsibility for parking infringements by 2018.

However, there is concern at what will happen until councils have decided what action to take, drawn up their plans and appointed wardens.

Roger Plant, chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, said: “Parking is a really contentious issue in Saxmundham and most towns.

“We might see a two-year lapse between the reduction in PCSOs and parking being taken over by the county or district councils and no wardens in place to issue tickets or just spasmodic enforcement by the police and that could mean a parking free for all.”

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Mr Plant said there was general concern about on-street parking in many areas of the town, and particular problems experienced near schools at dropping-off and picking up times.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: “Work is underway with district, borough and county councils to transfer responsibility for parking enforcement to the local authority, a move in line with the vast majority of the UK. In the meantime police will continue to enforce parking when required.”

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Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said: “Transferring the responsibility for parking enforcement to our local authorities is a no-brainer to me. Suffolk is one of only two counties in the country where local councils are not responsible for parking and that needs to change.

“Fines from parking tickets issued by the police to the Treasury; fines from tickets issued by local authorities stay in the county – it seems to make no sense at all for Suffolk to not to take advantage of this.

“I am working with council leaders to prepare a business case to take this forward. There is some bureaucracy to fight our way through but hopefully we can set the wheels in motion to achieve passing this over to local councils in 18 months or so.”

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