New enforcement teams are to be deployed across Peterborough in a clampdown on bad parking and littering in the city.
Separate parking and environmental crime enforcement teams are set to be created by Peterborough City Council due to demands from the public for action.
The parking team will have a large focus on problem parking outside schools while the environmental team will initially be deployed in the worst hotspots for litter, discarded needles and other problems such as graffiti or fly-tipping.
The hotspots initially identified by the council for enforcement are: Millfield, New England, Woodston, Westwood, Ravensthorpe and the rural areas.
Environmental enforcement largely takes place right now in the city centre and in and around the Millfield area, while parking enforcement is carried out city-wide.
No start date has been set for expanding the number of enforcement officers, but the council said it wants to “get on with it”.
Peterborough City Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “It’s what people keep telling me they want. It’s worked in the city centre and it’s worked in Millfield - why should we not spread it out?
“We’ve targeted hotspots right across the city and income we make will improve services.”
The announcement was made by the council this afternoon as part of a new set of budget measures. The council is setting its 2019/20 budget in three stages so savings can be implemented early, rather than having to wait until April 2019.
The council - which has seen its main government grant reduced by 80 per cent in the last seven years - is forecasting a deficit of £12.7 million in 2019/20. The measures announced today will reduce that to £10.2 million.
Currently, parking enforcement is carried out by the council’s Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES) which combines council, police, fire service and prison staff.
The council said: “Requests for more enforcement in key areas, including outside schools, have increased significantly and so we will review the way in which this service is delivered in order to better meet this demand.”
The council is budgeting to make an extra £125,000 a year from additional parking enforcement which it says will be reinvested into “other community safety and highways services, helping to reduce our core costs in these areas.”
Enforcement against environmental crimes such as littering, graffiti and fly-tipping is carried out in the city by private enforcement company Kingdom.
The firm is contracted to hand out fines of £80 in the city centre as well as an area incorporating Millfield, New England, Gladstone, Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment.
Both areas are subject to Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).
Council service director for communities and safety Adrian Chapman said he was “really happy” with the contract with Kingdom which he believes i making the streets cleaner, but he added that the council has yet to decide whether it should extend its arrangement with the firm or create its own Local Authority Trading Company to expand the amount enforcement across the city.
Increased savings of £40,000 are expected in 2019/20 from extra enforcement against environmental offences, but Mr Chapman said: “Our action will be proportionate and measured and officers will not be set income targets.
“Instead, any additional income will be used to support our work, either by reducing the core costs of delivering this work or by investing it into education or other projects that help to change people’s behaviours.”
Staff at Kingdom issued 2,973 fines in the first 96 days from the time they began patrolling the areas covered by PSPOs a year ago - the majority of which were for littering.
Mr Chapman said income from the fines covered the cost of the contract with Kingdom so was not generating revenue for the council.
A public consultation on the budget will now take place. Visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/budget.
A vote on the budget takes place at Full Council on Wednesday, July 25.
More budget articles will appear at www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk over the weekend.