Fenland set to bring in tough new regime to halt slap dash and illegal parking

PUBLISHED: 11:43 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 02 June 2010

By John Elworthy MOTORISTS in all four Fenland towns were warned today that care free and slap dash parking will be consigned to history as the district council prepares to introduce a tough, new regime. The council is expected to give the go ahead next

By John Elworthy

MOTORISTS in all four Fenland towns were warned today that care free and slap dash parking will be consigned to history as the district council prepares to introduce a tough, new regime.

The council is expected to give the go ahead next week to apply for Civil Parking Enforcement powers that will see all on street and off street parking come under the wing of a new, self financing regulatory body.

It will bring Fenland into line with many other local authorities across the UK and the Fenland scheme will be modelled on a similar scheme now operating in Cambridge.

Cambridgeshire County Council will be the principal body behind implementation and enforcement of the new powers which could be up and running in Fenland by 2011.

Penalty charge notices will be processed by the county council and will retain surpluses from all on street enforcement whilst the district council will benefit from any off street enforcement.

Trevor Watson, engineering services manager, says that financially there is little or no cost to Fenland District Council and unless they joined enforcement would have to remain with the police.

"The prevention of illegal parking improves road safety and access to our towns," says Mr Watson in a report to Cabinet. "The control of cars parked randomly undermines the street scene and adversely affect both the safety of other road users and pedestrians.

"This thoughtless behaviour, if unchecked, undermines confidence in the ability of the enforcement processes and leads to even higher levels of abuse, similar to the cracked window principal.

"If uncontrolled, visitors could also be discouraged from visiting or shopping in our towns or even discourage businesses."

Mr Watson believes the visible presence of enforcement officers will improve compliance and "is likely to be welcomed by the vast majority of the community".

Cambridge City Council, in their most recent accounts, show nearly 44,000 penalty tickets were issued last year, more than half at the higher £70 rate for offences such as parking in a disabled bay, although fines can be reduced by early settlement.

One immediate outcome for Fenland would be to allow the council to introduce and enforce short and long term parking bays in its car parks.

If the council does decide, eventually, to introduce pay and display, the district council would be responsible for ticket machines and cash collection but the back office and enforcement would come from the county council.

Regular monitoring of the Fenland scheme will come under the umbrella of a newly created joint parking board that will have both councillors and officers from all participating local authorities across Cambridgeshire.

East and South Cambridgeshire councils are said to be keen to join the new scheme although in Huntingdonshire the council is said to have concerns over financial implications.


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