By Local Democracy Reporter
PARISH councils should be given extra powers to ticket illegally parked cars in rural parts of Essex, according to a Colchester borough councillor who is frustrated at the level of service being provided by traffic wardens.
Lewis Barber, Conservative Councillor for the Lexden and Braiswick ward, says many rural communities are being ignored by the parking partnerships which he says are not providing a good enough services – allowing people to park illegal outside schools without any risk of being ticketed.
He has now written to the cabinet members for Essex County Council and Colchester Borough Council asking them to look into devolving certain parking responsibilities, such as wardens, to parish councils via the north Essex Parking Partnership which has responsibility for traffic wardens in Chelmsford, Colchester, Epping, Colchester, Uttlesford and Harlow.
He said: “A lot of the rural areas – especially on the estates that were built in the 70s – they were not designed for the numbers of cars that we have now.
“There are parking restrictions but largely they are ignored and parking wardens don’t tend to come to the rural areas.
“Having spoken to some of the parish councillors that I represent I know some already go round with polite notices asking them to move their car.
“Actually having some official power doesn’t change the amount of effort they are already putting in but it could make more of a difference.”
He added: “Hopefully no tickets will have to be issued and the wardens will act as a sufficient deterrent.
“When I have been out with a fluorescent jacket with the parish council people never park on the double lines.
“Hopefully it will be more of a deterrent than a means to rake in money so to speak.
“In theory if the parish councillors were collecting the resources then it would be to replace a service that I don’t think is being provided very well at the moment.
“But one of the sticking points would be that.”
A spokesperson for the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) said: “The service has already been devolved to a local level, and NEPP has very clear communication lines through which it welcomes any dialogue about where councillors believe NEPP can assist them in managing parking.
“NEPP works to ensure a fair allocation of resources across the partnership area, so that all locations where there are waiting restrictions receive a fair share of patrol time.”
Essex County Council has been approached for comment.