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Parking powers set to be handed to Suffolk's councils early next year

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Tougher crackdowns on illegal parking in Suffolk will take effect early next year which look set to put more parking wardens on the streets and end the wild west situation in some of the county’s problem spots.

The transfer of civil parking enforcement powers in Suffolk from police to councils is set to be rubber-stamped in January following lengthy delays, and rolled out in the early months of 2020.

Currently, Ipswich is the only authority which enforces parking itself, but stretched police resources in Suffolk has meant that officers have not been able to dedicate time to it elsewhere in the county where they still retain those powers.

Tougher crackdowns on illegal parking in Suffolk will take effect early next year.
Tougher crackdowns on illegal parking in Suffolk will take effect early next year.

The changes mean that councils can employ wardens to crackdown on problem parking, with income collected from parking fines able to be retained by the councils rather than being sent to central government, which police must do.

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I am absolutely delighted to see progress being made at last. There has been quite a delay in getting this sorted, so it is great to finally have a date for implementation.

“The council-run parking teams will, without doubt, provide more effective parking enforcement than the police because it will be their main focus – we have seen this in Ipswich where parking enforcement was de-criminalised some years ago.

“Moving the responsibility for parking to local authorities will free up police time for them to deal with more urgent issues, which makes perfect sense and that is why I committed £190k from the constabulary’s reserves to help establish the scheme.”

The changeover had been earmarked to start in April this year, but delays from central government because of Brexit work meant it was postponed because there was no availability in the parliamentary timetable.

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways at Suffolk County Council said: “It is essential in enabling our communities to have closer management of their local parking challenges.

“A lot of residents come to us with concerns that people parking in their towns and villages are becoming more inconsiderate, and something needs to be done about it – we agree, and as a result are committed to seeing these parking issues managed locally to ensure fair and safe parking for all.”