Fenland District Council is investigating parking enforcement options
An idea first raised at a Wisbech Town Council meeting two years ago and dismissed as unworkable is now being considered as a way to tackle illegal parking.
In October 2018 taxi driver Dave Patrick, who at that time was not a councillor, wrote to the council suggesting it consider 'buying' a PCSO to tackle issues in the town from anti-social behaviour, public drinking to poor parking.
Councillors did not discuss the matter but agreed the town clerk Terry Jordan should look into the feasibility of such a move.
The then police and crime commissioner Jason Ablewhite said he could not guarantee that a PCSO funded by the town council would not be expected to perform other duties as part of operational policing and the idea was dropped.
However, now the idea of funding dedicated PCSOs, to carry out parking enforcement under the direction of the council, is being suggested by Fenland District Council.
Fenland Council is investigating options for parking enforcement to tackle illegal, unsafe and inconsiderate parking across the district.
Cabinet members want to crackdown on problem 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 when resources permit or where required in a targeted manner following public complaints.
But the council recognises a more long-term solution to regulate and prevent illegal parking, and encourage safe and sensible parking, is required.
Councillor Jan French, the council’s cabinet member responsible for parking, said: “Illegal and inconsiderate parking causes significant issues for other road users and pedestrians, as well as access problems for residents living nearby. While ad hoc enforcement can be effective in the short term, we want to create a longer-term solution.”
One option would be for the council, in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council, to apply to the Secretary of State for a Civil Parking Enforcement order, which means the council would become responsible for enforcing on-street parking instead of the police.
However, due to the amount of work that would need to be undertaken in advance of an application, it is estimated the Civil Parking Enforcement route would cost the council more than £250,000 and take around two years to implement.
Therefore alternative options are also being considered, including funding Cambridgeshire Police for dedicated Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), who would carry out parking enforcement under the direction of the council.
Another option is for council officers to use delegated police powers to carry out parking enforcement, in a similar manner to its existing environmental enforcement powers.
Coun French said: “We are very mindful that residents want a solution to parking problems as soon as possible. While Civil Parking Enforcement would enable greater local control and regulation of on and off-street parking areas, we are looking at other ways we could make this happen in a more timely and cost effective manner.
“All options are being explored with a view to implementing a solution in the coming months. In the meantime, I’d like to encourage motorists to park responsibly and help to keep our towns and villages moving.”
More by this authorSarah Cliss