Ceredigion Council’s Cabinet voted on Tuesday to take on Civil Parking Enforcement. The decision, some 13 years after it was first discussed by the Council, will next year see the Council taking over the role of traffic wardens from the police, who have said they will withdraw their service from the end of May due to the lack of Council progress on the issue.
During the debate, the Cabinet Member for Highways, Ray Quant, acknowledged that he had begun to feel, “like King Canute” in trying to hold back the tide of opinion running in favour of the measure, whilst surrounding Councils all adopted it. He also acknowledged that it had been the action of the police that had finally made the decision unavoidable but also mentioned that Council officers had been, “pushing me and pushing me” on the issue.
Although non-Cabinet councillors like myself aren’t allowed to vote on the issue, we were allowed a peripheral role in the Cabinet debate on Tuesday. Although I’ve been a constant critic of Ray Quant on this issue, I did try to strike a striking a conciliatory note by acknowledging that he had made the right call on some other controversial issues (like weekly recycling collections and street lighting). I also asked the Council to seek a meeting with the police in the hope that they may find a way to maintain their traffic warden service until next year now that they are assured the Council will take it on after that.
As discussed here, here and here, Civil Parking Enforcement will allow the Council to recycle money from parking fines into improved local traffic management, whereas fines currently go straight to the UK Treasury. Civil Parking Enforcement is now likely to be introduced in Ceredigion around June 2012. It is also hoped that the measure will eventually enable the Council to adopt residents parking schemes around Aberystwyth town centre.
One interesting anecdote from the debate; In Blackpool, Civil Parking Enforcement was opposed by shop owners as they believed that improved parking enforcement in streets with short-term parking would discourage trade. When a survey was done, it was found that the majority of parking spaces in these streets were actually taken up all day, not by shoppers, but by the shop owners and workers themselves. When Civil Parking Enforcement came in and the shop workers had to park in the car parks, retail increased by over 15%.