Why parking fines of £50 to £70 will soon be much more common in South Cambridgeshire
Parking restrictions are expected to be enforced more stringently in South Cambridgeshire in future after the government approved an application to allow the county council to take over the role from police.
It means council officials will be able to issue penalty charge notices for the majority of on-street parking offences, such as parking on single or double yellow lines.
The scheme will come into force from December 19, but initially only warning notices will be issued, which will look like a parking ticket but have no fine attached.
Then from February 1, fines of between £50 and £70 - depending on the severity of the offence - will be issued,
Until now, only police could issue parking fines in South Cambridgeshire, but the switch to civil enforcement is expected to mean more notices issued, helping to improve road safety, reduce obstructions and aid the flow of traffic.
Highways officers and South Cambridgeshire District Council have worked together to develop the scheme and information leaflets are being placed on vehicles parked in busy commuting and shopping areas to give motorists warning of the changes.
Cllr Neil Shailer (Lab, Romsey), vice-chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s highways and transport committee, said: “We ask that people take an extra second to think about where they park in the future as drivers are far more likely to receive a fine for parking incorrectly where there are restrictions, such as single or double yellow lines, now that this application has been approved.
“Always check the lines and signs or other notices in the area where you are planning to park. Check the Highway Code if you are not sure what a sign or line means.”
The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is using some money from its City Deal with the government to fund the set-up costs.
Cllr Elisa Meschini, the Labour chair of the GCP, said: “We are really pleased that City Deal funding has been able to deliver civil parking enforcement in South Cambridgeshire which should make a positive impact on Cambridgeshire County Council’s ability to enforce on-street parking offences. This will make it much more likely that people who park incorrectly will be sanctioned. This should help keep traffic moving freely and help support safer roads for everyone.”
Some offences - such as dangerous parking, obstruction of the footway and moving traffic offences - will continue to be enforced only by the police, due to limits on civil enforcement powers.
Cllr Bill Handley (Lib Dem, Over and Willingham), South Cambridgeshire District Council’s lead cabinet member for communities, said: “Parking restrictions are there for a reason; parking where it is not allowed can be dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Please pay even closer attention to the lines and signs when you are parking locally from now on. You’ll be far more likely to be fined soon, if you park in places where you shouldn’t – like on double yellow lines. We are very grateful to the Greater Cambridge Partnership and county council for working with us for the benefit of our communities.”
South Cambridgeshire’s Conservative MP Anthony Browne, who will stand in the new St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire constituency at the next election, welcomed the decision and said he has been campaigning for it, along with district councillor Richard Williams (Con, Whittlesford), who brought a motion forward on the subject, and South Cambridgeshire Parliamentary candidate Chris Carter-Chapman.
Mr Browne said: “This is very welcome news. I have spent the last four years campaigning for South Cambridgeshire to catch up with 97 per cent of the country who got there first!
“Overcoming opposition and delays from Lib Dem and Labour councillors, I’ve been working to ensure local civil parking enforcement would receive backing from government. It now has.
“The overwhelming majority of residents are fed up with illegal parking, and drivers knowing they can flout parking restrictions with impunity. Residents asked for a clampdown, and now it is coming. Illegal parkers are warned: they need to start obeying the law. I’m urging councillors to grab this bull by the horns.”
The application for civil parking enforcement powers was submitted to the Department for Transport earlier this year following approval from the county council’s highways and transport committee.
Visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cpe for more information.