Peterborough City Council to apply for enhanced traffic enforcement powers from June this year after residents voice frustrations over illegal parking in pedestrianised areas of city centre

Peterborough City Council has announced plans to apply for improved traffic enforcement powers from June this year after coming under fire from residents over continued illegal parking in pedestrianised areas of the city centre.

By adam barker
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 4:59 am
BMW parked in a pedestrianised area of Cathedral Square in Peterbrorugh city centre. (Photo courtesy of Toby Wood (@TobyWoody) on Twitter)
BMW parked in a pedestrianised area of Cathedral Square in Peterbrorugh city centre. (Photo courtesy of Toby Wood (@TobyWoody) on Twitter)

There has been increasing calls from residents urging Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Police to crackdown on illegal parking in pedestrianised areas of the city centre, including Cathedral Square, Church Street, Long Causeway and Bridge Street.

The annoyance expressed by residents has continued since the Peterborough Telegraph last reported on the issue in August last year. The Peterborough Telegraph's report on the issue was in response to Council Leader, Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, taking to social media to condemn an incident of illegal parking on Long Causeway.

In August last year, Cllr Fitzgerald and Peterborough City Council said that they had limited powers to combat the issue because legislation in England only allows CCTV and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to be used for a small section of parking contraventions - which include school keep clear markings, red routes and restricted bus stops.

A red Volkswagan parked illegally on Long Causeway in August 2021. Photo: Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald.

Peterborough City Council previously expressed their interest in applying for a government scheme called a Designation Order for Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions, which would enable them to enforce moving traffic offences. Seven months later, the council have confirmed that councils outside of London will be able to apply for the scheme from June this year.

A Peterborough City Council spokesperson said: "Like every town and city, we encounter motorists who think it is acceptable to park illegally in pedestrianised areas. Not only can this be dangerous for pedestrians, it also ruins the look of our city centre shopping areas.

"We take this seriously and that is why our enforcement officers patrol the central areas of the city on a regular basis and ticket vehicles we find to be parked illegally. Since 1 April 2021 we have issued 132 PCNs to vehicles in Cathedral Square, Church Street, Long Causeway and Bridge Street, with only three of those being in Cathedral Square. In addition, we use bollards, such as the one on Long Causeway, to stop vehicles entering pedestrianised areas.

"From June, councils outside of London will be able to apply to use moving traffic enforcement powers. This will allow us to fine people who drive into a pedestrianised area, even if they don't park. We are considering how we might use these powers in the future to better tackle the issue of illegal parking."

In Cllr Fitzgerald's tweet last August, he stated that the city council's powers to deal with the issue were restricted because of the fact that they only have 12 enforcement officers. This week, a spokesperson from the council told us that they still employ 12 full time parking enforcement officers, with an additional vacant post which they are hoping to fill as soon as possible.

Many Peterborough residents, like Toby Wood, 70, of Newark Avenue, Dogsthorpe, have voiced their frustrations and are calling for the council to crackdown on the issue. Mr Wood is the vice chairman of the Peterborough Civic Society and wants more to be done to tackle the issue.

"Peterborough people are fed up of drivers parking wherever they wish in the centre of the city," he said. "It really makes people’s blood boil – I have had lots of people contact me and the Civic Society about this issue.

"I regularly see cars parked on Cathedral Square or Church Street – they must gain access along Long Causeway when the parking bollards are down. People can also gain access via Cowgate. It’s people being too lazy to park in designated areas - they think they can get away with it because there’s no sufficient parking enforcement. I realise that the council can’t afford more enforcement officers but that’s the answer in the long run.

"I’ve also seen delivery drivers collecting food from takeaways - this has to be discouraged. Local businesses have to be told this is not a option.

"It’s quite simple – do we want pedestrianised areas in the centre of the city or not?"