Charges could be introduced for on-street parking in Wealden

Update on Wednesday, December 13: An item about the introduction of on-street Civil Parking Enforcement within Wealden was withdrawn from a district council agenda today.Wealden logo cropped

Chairman of Wealden District Council’s cabinet Cllr Bob Standley said a number of queries about the matter had come up within the last few days and it was important to ensure people were clear about what was being suggested.

Cllr Standley said the whole district would be affected by the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement and members needed to be clear about what it would mean.

After the meeting Cllr Standley added: “If on-street car parking enforcement is introduced, it will take two to three years to implement. It will not happen overnight.”

Uckfield News published a story on Thursday, December 7, about the contents of a report due to be considered by councillors today. Read it below.

Uckfield News original story: Pay parking is back on the agenda at Wealden Council as it prepares to introduce on-street Civil Parking Enforcement in the district.

The cost of taking over responsibility for on-street parking enforcement from the police following community pressure would be £220,000 to set up and about £330,000 a year.

East Sussex County Council has made it clear to Wealden they would not operate with a deficit, therefore, if local communities’ preference is to avoid pay and display on the streets – car parks are not included – the deficit would have to be funded by contributions from other sources such as town and parish councils.

No going back

A report to the district council’s cabinet which meets on Wednesday, December 13 says: “There would need to be an agreement with East Sussex County Council to provide this funding in perpetuity as once Civil Parking Enforcement is established there is no going back to police enforcement.”

The report goes on to say that detailed discussions would need to take place with town and parish councils, and other interested parties, if this option is favoured.

Civil Parking Enforcement is being considered because of an increasing amount of public and press comment, including complaints to officers and members, about on-street car parking.

Low priority

Sussex Police have already said that parking enforcement is a low priority to them unless parked vehicles provide a danger to the public.

Wealden Council has ruled out options for doing nothing; working to change public behaviour, or operating a lower level of enforcement through community wardens.

The report says, it has been concluded that Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is the only realistic option to provide effective and safe traffic management in towns and villages.

Charging

“The significant work carried out by East Sussex County Council colleagues proves that it is not possible to introduce CPE and cover the costs of the scheme without either some form of charging for those wishing to park in restricted areas on street (pay and display) or an element of subsidy of the costs.”

Two options remaining are either for the introduction of pay and display and permits within towns and villages or the introduction of enforcement and permits with the deficit in funding being met by towns and parishes who have not yet been consulted about their willingness to participate in such a scheme.

The report says the process of introducing Civil Parking Enforcement would take from 18 months to two years.

On-going problem

Discussions have taken place with Sussex Police to consider the ongoing problem of on-street parking infringements and Wealden District Commander Emma Brice has said that if cabinet agrees in principle to the introduction of CPE then the police will provide temporary resources to provide an enforcement scheme including the training and use of volunteers.

“The objective would be to provide an interim measure to improve the level of enforcement in the lead up to the implementation of CPE. Sussex Police have also indicated they may be prepared to contribute to the set up costs for the introduction of CPE.”

* There is no suggested policy change within the report for Wealden car parks “which the council remains committed to maintaining free at the point of use”. What is being considered is charging for on-street parking.

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