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”.