'Progress made' on move to transfer parking enforcement powers to councils
The countdown has begun on stricter parking enforcement after 'progress' was made to break a Government impasse.
Efforts to transfer civil parking enforcement (CPE) from the police to district and borough councils in Suffolk including St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath have been left in limbo due to Brexit.
However, Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill says ‘progress is being made’ to solve the problem, which is ‘causing a real issue for residents, businesses and is adding unnecessary burden on the police’.
It follows a meeting she and other Suffolk MPs held with Jesse Norman, Minister of State for Transport.
She said: “The legislation should be brought forward by May at the latest and there is a strong commitment from the Department to fix this issue.
“This is great news and I will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said he had been told by MPs that CPE would be up and running by the end of October but he has contacted Mr Norman to confirm.
He said: “There clearly has been some progress which we’re all delighted about at long last.”
The Bury Free Press previously revealed that police issued 1,149 fixed penalty notices between January and November last year to drivers parked illegally in the Bury St Edmunds area.
Councillors argued the figure was ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the scale of illegal parking in Bury due to the demands on police resources.
Mr Passmore said: “I’m sure it is just the tip of the iceberg.
“It affects businesses from the point of view of traders and shops as a road safety issue.
“It isn’t a very good use of police time. There are other things like anti-social behaviour I’m sure the public want dealt with.”
Cllr Andrew Speed, chairman of Bury Town Council, said: "Many of us have been pushing for the return of parking to the local authority for years.
"Thanks to the hard work of Suffolk MPs, amongst others, we will now be able to manage local parking policy and collect income.
"Most significantly we will be able to properly enforce areas in town, where parking behaviour has, on occasion, become lawless."
There are 21 areas in the country without CPE with six in Suffolk.
Ipswich Borough Council has operated CPE since 2005.
Cllr Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, welcomed the MPs' intervention to keep CPE 'on track'.
She said: “Although it has slipped slightly, it’s very good news that we are able to move over to CPE later this year.
“The county council has worked hard to get everything prepared ready for the introduction of CPE, with traffic regulation orders currently being put in place and signs and double yellow lines being reinstated in readiness.”