THURROCK is set to continue its trial of the CCTV car – Pippa – for another six months, the council’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday (11 December) evening.
Introducing her proposal, public protection portfolio holder, Cllr Angie Gaywood said: “Before the start of the initial trial I made it clear that one of the main purposes of the CCTV car was to tackle the blight of dangerous and inconsiderate parking in Thurrock outside our schools.”
She said the council and partners through the School Safety Working Group ran a naming competition was held and won by Jodie a Year 4 pupil at St Thomas of Canterbury school who came up with PIPPA for Park It Properly Prevent Accidents.
She added: “This six month trial has enabled us to gauge the effectiveness of PIPPA based on real experience.
“It was never our intention that PIPPA would create a large revenue surplus and as you can see from the report on purchasing and leasing options there will likely be a shortfall in running costs for either option.”
The shortfall that cllr Gaywood refers to is a debt to the Thurrock taxpayer in the region of £77,000.
“However I believe it is right that we put the safety of our school children, pedestrians and other road users before profit.”
Cllr Gaywood said: “We don’t penalise legal parking here, if someone runs out of time on their pay and display ticket we already give them a grace period of five minutes and if they are parked in certain restriction areas like single yellow lines we give them time to drop someone off or pick someone up – that’s fair.”
She added that the car only spent appropriate hours outside schools and at other times supported public transport by keeping bus stops clear, checking taxi ranks and tackling congestion by keeping traffic flowing.
“PIPPA keeps our roads safe from dangerous parking outside schools, on the school keep clear areas, on dropped kerbs and on pedestrian crossings allowing pedestrians and school children to cross the road safely.
“It also prevents illegal and dangerous parking from HGVs on pavements, verges and in areas where to park would cause an obstruction.”
Cllr Gaywood changed the initial recommendation from buying a new CCTV car to extending the trial period to allow cabinet time to gauge seasonal changes and the overall effectiveness of a whole year’s statistics, bringing a further report back in six months time.
Speaking afterwards, Conservative spokesman for public protection, Cllr Simon Wootton said: “It is very pleasing to see that in the first few months, the introduction of the CCTV car has had such a positive impact to deal with inconsiderately or dangerously parked vehicles.
“Thurrock residents who I have spoken to, have really welcomed the introduction of the CCTV car and the more robust but fair approach which has been taken towards poor standards of parking.”