There has been increasing frustration from residents over the past month about cars illegally parking in designated pedestrian only areas of the city, including Long Causeway, King Street and town square, close to Queen Street.
On Monday (August 16), Council Leader, Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald posted a video, taken the previous Saturday (August 14), showing a red Volkswagan parked illegally on Long Causeway, just outside the Paddy Power and Greggs on the street.
In this, he expressed his frustration that the bollards, designed to prevent traffic from accessing the area, were down and then, having spoken to two sets of police officers neither were able to go and give the car a ticket.
He tweeted: “I’m frustrated by this behaviour - but we are working on a solution and I will be asking @CambsCops to take action against these offenders! We can only do what we are allowed to right now as the law stands! No amount of trolling me or the Council will change that!”
Cllr Fitzgerald also stated that the council had limited powers to deal with the issue at present, both legally and due to the fact that the council has only 12 parking enforcement officers.
In earlier tweets, when asked where the enforcement was, he added: “That is perhaps a question best directed to Cambridgeshire Constabulary as we have limited powers at present to prevent it or ticket anyone caught doing it. But I am pursuing these powers for the council and as soon as we can we will certainly issue penalty notices!
“As for evidence and improvements - in the future the use of ANPR / CCTV will be admissible as evidence presently it is not! People who park illegally and where it is in our powers can expect to be ticketed now - we just have to catch them!
“Oh and as for evidence of ongoing enforcement by the council - penalty notices issued were 8788 last financial year and 4823 this year so far to the end of July. This is low due to the knock on effects of COVID and the fact that everyone cannot be caught with just 12 officers!”
When asked for their comment, Cambridgeshire Police insisted that they were working with the council on the issue but that enforcement in pedestrian areas is primarily the responsibility of the council.
A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said: “We are working with partners, including the city council, concerning this issue.
“Enforcement of parking in designated pedestrian areas is primarily conducted by the city council’s Prevention and Enforcement Officers.
“We are committed to working with the council’s officers and regularly conduct patrols in the city centre.”
The council, however, has told the Peterborough Telegraph that local authorities do not have powers to enforce obstruction offences, such as blockages of the road or pavement, which remain criminal and not civil offences and that these must still be enforced by the police.
The council also said that their actions were limited due to the fact that legislation in England only allows CCTV to be used for a small selection of parking contraventions – which include school keep clear markings, red routes and restricted bus stops; something they are hoping to change.
For this reason, the council has expressed interest in applying for a new government scheme, not yet available outside of London. If successful and the scheme is branched out from the capital, the council would be able to use CCTV to capture and fine motorists caught driving in pedestrian areas.
A spokesperson for Peterborough City Council, said: “The council has expressed interest in applying for a Designation Order for Civil Enforcement of Moving Traffic Contraventions. This is a new scheme which is not yet available to local authorities outside of London but will allow the council to enforce moving traffic offences, such as driving into a pedestrian zone, using CCTV. With this in place motorists would be fined by the council for driving into these areas, prior to parking.”