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Fury over delays to beat bad parking in Newmarket

Illegal parking in Newmarket will continue to go usually unpunished (3760200)
Illegal parking in Newmarket will continue to go usually unpunished (3760200)

A ‘furious’ police and crime commissioner has attacked ‘incompetent government’ over delays in tackling illegal parking in Newmarket.

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore criticised the Department for Transport’s (DfT) decision to shelve plans to give Forest Heath District Council - and other authorities in Suffolk - powers to hand out parking tickets from next year.

“I am absolutely furious about it – it’s a local example of incompetent government. All they have to do is sign off on it,” said Mr Passmore.

“I just find it extraordinary where this would help everybody in the county that the DfT has just been so obstructive.”

The transport department has blamed Brexit for the delay.

A department spokesman said: “Given the particular circumstances of the moment, the DfT will now not be able to work to the usual timetable for the introduction of civil parking enforcement.”

Forest Heath District Council had expected to take over civil parking enforcement in April, but the DfT admitted it had no timetable for its introduction.

Parking enforcement powers would have meant parking wardens patrolling Newmarket’s streets with Suffolk County Council and the police ready to spend £1.1 million on its introduction across the county.

Currently wardens can only patrol council-owned car parks meaning illegal street parking in Newmarket often goes unpunished.

But councillors are set to put pressure on minister Chris Grayling’s transport department to introduce parking control powers.

Cllr David Bowman, Forest Heath’s cabinet member for operations, said: “While the situation in Newmarket is acute, civil parking enforcement is a county-wide issue and we are sending a united message to the DfT that it has to be given priority and moved forward.

“At present, only the police have the powers to enforce on-street parking offences. The police and crime commissioner and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge are working to set up a meeting where all Suffolk MPs will be able to discuss a way forward with the department.”