‘We’re easy pickings’ – residents in parking row with council
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
Residents in Stowmarket say they are unable to park outside their own homes during the day because of tougher parking enforcement.
People living in Stowupland Street are complaining they have received tickets for overstaying the daytime parking restriction.
The terraced road is on the edge of Stowmarket town centre with no off-road parking for residents and directly opposite the town’s busy mainline railway station.
It is governed by a single yellow line subject to Monday to Saturday 8am-6pm restriction. There is a also a short-term parking bay.
The nearest pay and display car park is a long term facility off Bury Street, five minutes walk away and on the other side of the busy Gipping Way dual carriageway.
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But Mid Suffolk District Council says it is only performing its legal duty of enforcing long-standing traffic regulations.
Following a change in the law in April local authorities in Suffolk are now responsible for parking enforcement on behalf of Suffolk County Council, the highways authority. Previously it was the responsibility of the police.
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Fixed penalty notices for over-staying are £50, reduced to £25 if paid within 14 days.
Enforcement is carried out across the county by wardens from Ipswich Borough Council and West Suffolk District Council.
Resident Jade Powell said residents accepted they would need to apply for a permit parking scheme as a solution in the long-term, but being regularly hit with parking tickets was not helping.
“In the last couple of weeks people have started getting tickets and we feel like we’re just seen as easy pickings,” she said.
“Yet the restrictions are supposed to be to protect residents and deter station users from parking here.”
Fellow resident Edward Peckham said he wondered what the council was trying to achieve.
He said the only other parking available is on nearby Regent Street and Union Street East, which are both much more narrow and already having issues with the amount of parked cars on them to the point where residents of those roads often had to overflow into Stowupland Street.
“On a road where parking has not been an issue, this only really penalises the residents of Stowupland Street who have no other option but to either park a long distance from their homes or take the risk of receiving parking charges by parking outside of our own homes,” he said.
Emi-Jo Porter said she and her partner had received three tickets in a week.
“It’s such a hassle. I’ve got a young son and if I’ve got a car full of shopping I have to leave him strapped in while I unload the car before then having to go and park somewhere else,” she said.
A spokesperson for Mid Suffolk District Council said 19 tickets had been issued for Stowupland Street since April 6.
“These parking restrictions for Stowupland Street have been in place since 1991,” she said.
“Responsibility for ensuring parking is safe and legal transferred to district and borough councils earlier this year, but our officers can only enforce the existing traffic regulations, which have been set by Suffolk County Council.
“Anyone wishing to request changes to parking restrictions can visit the county council’s website for more information, or to appeal a PCN in Stowmarket specifically residents should head to West Suffolk Council’s website.”