Council could pick up the bill for PCSOs in bid to tackle illegal parking in the Fens
- Credit: Archant
Topping up police coffers to allow them to put more PCSOs on the streets of Wisbech, March, Chatteris and Whittlesey, is being considered by Fenland Council.
The idea is that they would pay Cambridgeshire Police for dedicated PCSOs who would carry out parking enforcement under the direction of the council
Cllr Jan French, who has cabinet responsibility for parking, 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 timelier 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."
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She 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."
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Another, but costly, 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.
This would mean the council would become responsible for enforcing on-street parking instead of the police.
However the council says that 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.
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.
A council spokesman said all options to "tackle illegal, unsafe and inconsiderate parking across the district" were on the table.
The spokesman said that 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" said the spokesman.
Indications of a change of policy were indicated last summer following the election of Cllr Chris Boden as leader.
Chartered accountant John Anker called for the introduction of traffic wardens in Wisbech after capturing irresponsible parking that included this double decker being trapped outside his office.
Mr Anker tweeted this photo of a bus held up by a motorist who had parked outside his office in The Crescent, Wisbech, and caused consternation as the driver tried to find the car owner who had parked slap bang in the middle of the road.
"Another fun day of irresponsible parking round the Crescent in Wisbech," he tweeted.
"What would it cost to engage a parking warden for the town feel sure they would pay for themselves?"
The bus was dropping off primary school children for a visit to the library.
Wisbech councillor Steve Tierney wrote on the Wisbech Standard Facebook page that it was "pointless calling out for traffic wardens because they don't exist anymore.
"Parking attendants (controlled by the council) only exist where parking has been decriminalised - which always comes with paid parking (that's how it's funded.)."
He added: " So if you want council parking attendants, the problem is that also means paid parking, which most people do not want (me included.)."
Cllr Boden said at the time: "It's true that an army of dedicated council-employed traffic wardens just isn't on the cards (although early enforcement of any revised off-street and/or on-street regime would require more substantial short-term enforcement activity),"