01/02/2011

Street parking enforcement set to break down in Ceredigion


Street parking enforcement is set to break down in Ceredigion after Dyfed-Powys Police announced their intention to withdraw their traffic warden service from the end of May.

The move follows years of frustration in which both the police and Plaid Cymru councillors have repeatedly asked the Council Cabinet to take over parking enforcement from the police, known as Civil Parking Enforcement. The great benefit of this is that money from parking fines would go back to the Council and can be re-used for improving local transport services whereas the current fines from parking tickets simply go straight into the UK Treasury.

The sense of such a move was highlighted recently when the Council's own Finance Department pinpointed taking on parking enforcement as a way for the Council to save money and avoid additional cuts. Civil Parking Enforcement is also a pre-requisite for Residents' Parking schemes, something constantly requested by local residents within Aberystwyth

The reasons for the Council Cabinet's stubborn refusal to act have never been made entirely clear and they have become increasingly isolated as other Councils all around them have taken on the role.

At a meeting yesterday, when councillors were first told of the situation, I asked how long it would take for the Council to take on the Civil Parking Enforcement role, now that it looks as if they will have no alternative. I was told that, if the Council Cabinet agree to this in March (a big 'if'), the practical and legal issues will take at least a year to work through. The period between the and of May and that taking place could be very interesting.

A statement today by Dyfed-Powys Police said,

“In relation to enforcement during the transition, officers will respond to calls from the public to deal with parking problems in Ceredigion and will assist with pre-planned events. This will not be the service currently provided by the wardens and any calls relating to parking will have to balanced with other operational demands”.

6 comments:

  1. Can you remind those of who don't really understand how a council gets itself into this situation, why Ceredigion is run according to the Cabinet model?

    ReplyDelete
  2. How much money are we talking? If the council gets lots of extra income from parking fines etc. and uses it for transport infrastructure (like an Aber tramway) then objective 1 funding will match that investment won't it? It's criminal that the council have been sending so much money to Westminster, redwood-style, whilst telling us that everything has to be cut.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Clive,

    It took a bit of digging out but below is a press release from January 2002 about a consultation vote held by Ceredigion Council into the way the Council is run. The then Council Leader mentioned is now long gone.

    "COUNCIL REJECTS PUBLIC OPINION

    "Ceredigion Councillors have voted 23 – 14 to reject the views expressed in the recent public consultation on how the Council should be run.

    "In a 15% turnout – one of the highest so far in Wales – electors had voted 42% - 27% to support a Council Board system over the current Leader and Cabinet system. This view was supported by Community Councils and Focus Groups. However, at a Council meeting on Wednesday, Independent and Liberal Democrat councillors voted to ignore their views and stick to the status quo. The Plaid Cymru group all voted for the option chosen by the public but were defeated.

    "Plaid Cymru Councillor Penri James said, “This is a disgraceful decision. The Independents and Lib Dems have effectively said ‘We will listen to your views as long as you agree with us’. The Council has boasted about taking consultation on this matter further than other local authorities and the money they have spent on it. Now this rejection of the public view means that it has all been wasted. This kind of decision is dangerous because it erodes the public’s faith in the democratic process. It is unbelieveable that Cllr Dai Lloyd Evans argued that the 85% who did not respond were the quiet majority who supported his point of view. This is a gross distortion of statistical fact. There are many reasons why people do not respond and blind acceptance of the Independent/Liberal coalition's point of view is not one of them. Acting as they have with total disregard for the electorate confirms that they no longer govern Ceredigion for
    everybody but for themselves.

    "Plaid Cymru councillor Alun Williams added, “We were genuinely shocked at how brazenly the ruling group dismissed the views expressed by the public. We realise it was a consultation and not a referendum but, when a consultation comes out as strongly as that, any Council that is genuinely interested in the people they serve has got to take notice. The ruling group in Ceredigion have become a law unto themselves and are not listening to the public.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous,
    From memory, the guesstimate was something like £37,000 in the first year after the cost of administering the whole thing is accounted for - not much in Council terms but certainly better than giving it all to the Treasury. Subsequent annual savings could well be greater but would depend on the level at which parking charges/fines were set coupled with the degree of enforcement so, essentially, it would be up to the Council.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aren't there and PCSO's in Aber that can cover this sort of thing. Aren't they partly council funded?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've checked this. PCSOs aren't part-funded by the Council, only the police. They don't have the legal powers of traffic wardens. Even if they did, the money from fines would still go back to the UK Treasury.

    The pressure on Ceredigion to take on Civil Parking Enforcement cranked up another notch this week after Powys Council announced they intend to take it up from April 1st.

    ReplyDelete