Thousands could be fined every year under new Fenland parking enforcement plans
Thousands of people could be fined every year under plans for parking enforcement in Fenland.
The district council wants to crackdown on illegal parking in both on and off-street areas, such as in town centres, residential areas and outside schools, as well as in the council’s free car parks.
On-street parking enforcement is currently undertaken in the district by the police, but the council says a long-term solution is required due to a lack of resources.
Under proposals which are expected to be signed off by its Cabinet on Monday, the district council intends to ask Cambridgeshire County Council to apply on its behalf to the Government for a Civil Parking Enforcement order.
If approved, this would see the district council become responsible for enforcing on-street parking instead of the police, with parking enforcement decriminalised.
The process for this is expected to cost more than £250,000 and take up to two years and, according to a report produced for the Cabinet, the scheme might run an annual deficit of up to £75,000.
The report also states the number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued in Fenland in 2017 was 445, but that typically the introduction of a CPE order would see up to four times as many fines issued through parking charge notices costing residents up to £70.
And it added: “As the 2017 figures were based on ad-hoc policing, the figures may well be much greater.”
The council has already received £400,000 of funding from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to progress the scheme, and the Cabinet is expected to agree that £30,000 be spent on a specialist CPE consultant to guide it through the process.
Any income from parking tickets issued would be used to fund the scheme, with any surplus by law having to be ringfenced for highway related matters.
The council said it has “no intention of introducing paid parking in off street parking areas to assist with the funding of CPE”.
It added: “Of the 326 local authorities in England, 316 have so far already adopted civil enforcement powers with some of the 10 remaining now looking at introducing CPE.”
Different models being investigated include an in-house service, contracting the operation out to an external provider, or a hybrid model.
The middle option would “offer the most financial viability,” the council said.
It continued: “Whilst it is accepted that a large amount of enforcement would be required at the outset, less enforcement provision is envisaged as the scheme embeds and driver behaviours start to change.
“Therefore, once the scheme is fully embedded, should the resulting financial model not be deemed appropriate following the initial introductory years, the scale of the enforcement resource could be adjusted until a better balance is found.
“Failure to progress or introduce CPE is likely to result in continued persistent parking issues in our towns and villages where traffic regulation and parking places orders are in place, impacting on safety, accessibility and the environment.
“This could also impact on the council’s planning aspirations and transport objectives.”
If the proposed timetable is met, CPE could be in place from the summer of 2023.
Before this time, controls in off-street parking areas - which are expected to be in greater demand following the change - would need to be introduced.