Tougher enforcement measures against illegal parking in Suffolk set to take effect in 2020
Tougher crackdowns on illegal parking in Suffolk will take effect early next year, which look set to put more parking wardens on the streets and end the “wild west” situation in some of the county’s problem spots.
The transfer of civil parking enforcement powers in Suffolk from police to councils is due to be rubber-stamped in January following lengthy delays, and rolled out in the early months of 2020.
The changes mean that councils can employ wardens to crackdown on problem parking, with income collected from parking fines able to be retained by the councils rather than being sent to central government, which police must do.
The changeover was earmarked to start in April, but delays from central government due to Brexit work meant it was postponed, because there was no availability in the parliamentary timetable.
Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways at Suffolk County Council, said: “It is essential in enabling our communities to have closer management of their local parking challenges.
“A lot of residents come to us with concerns that people parking in their towns and villages are becoming more inconsiderate, and something needs to be done about it – we agree and, as a result, are committed to seeing these parking issues managed locally to ensure fair and safe parking for all.”
It is hoped the income generated from parking fines will help protect frontline council services from having to suffer cutbacks, although stretched council budgets mean there are fears a more draconian approach could be employed.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils have struck a deal with Ipswich and West Suffolk councils to carry out parking enforcement on their behalf, but Ipswich Conservative group leader Ian Fisher raised fears over reputational damage from motorists in a Babergh or Mid Suffolk road being issued with a ticket from an Ipswich-uniformed parking warden.
Labour council leader David Ellesmere said: “There is effectively the wild west in other areas of Suffolk.
“Even when police had traffic wardens, it was never a particular priority for them, but, given the cuts to police since 2010, there is virtually nothing going on in the way of enforcement in the rest of Suffolk and that is causing huge problems. That is the real impetus behind this.
“People who get parking tickets are not going to be that keen on it, but, in terms of the wider public and getting rid of the disruption, it probably will be popular.”
More by this authorJason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter