The idea was proposed by Cllr Donna French at a full council meeting last night. She wanted to get past a “Mexican stand-off” with the police who want to decriminalise parking and Wealden Council, and many town councillors, who oppose the idea.
Cllr Duncan Bennett was the first councillor to support the proposal as probably the only way forward without “draconian measures” which could see the thin end of the wedge as far as parking fees were concerned.
He remembered the days when Uckfield did have traffic wardens, shared with Crowborough, and they did work.
Cllr Helen Firth said some guarantee would be needed that Uckfield would get its share of the traffic warden.
“There is nothing we want more. I am disappointed Sussex Police seem incapable of a simple job like parking enforcement. They drive through our streets all the time and could see a car parked incorrectly, stop, and give them a ticket. It wouldn’t hurt them to do that.”
Cllr Paul Meakin wanted to see commuter parking issues addressed too. He said large areas of New Town as far afield as Selby Road were affected and residents were at their wits end.
Cllr Diane Ward said she would be interested to know whether Sussex Police would like to employ a traffic warden, even if the town council part funded the post.
She said people parking in the Regency Close area showed no consideration for others to the extent that an ambulance had to go a long way round when trying to reach her when she had breathing difficulties.
Cllr Chris Macve said he supported Cllr French’s idea and failed to see why this sort of procedure couldn’t go forward.
“If the population of a town don’t know when a traffic warden is coming round they will obey the law. If one comes on an ad hoc basis people will observe parking restrictions and regulations. Once they get a £60 fine they are not going to do it again.”
Town clerk Holly Goring said the council had previously been offered part-funding by the Police and Crime Commissioner for a community warden but the idea was thrown out because that warden would have no power to place parking fines on vehicles.
She added that idea was still in the background and she would be bringing a report back to the council on how the scheme was working elsewhere. “This is a different motion for a parking warden contributed to by the council.”
Cllr Bennett recalled that the council had also previously been asked to invest in the provision of PCSOs but the council would have had no say over where the PCSO might be – they could be sent anywhere in Sussex.
Cllr Paul Sparks said there was a wealth of information about parking enforcement on the Wealden District Council website.
A variety of options had been fully costed and various recommendations made but so far the district council had decided not to go ahead with them.
He said there could be parking enforcement without on-street parking charges but funding for a warden had to come from fine penalty notices and that wasn’t a particularly financially viable way of parking enforcement.
He said the only real way of dealing with parking on double yellow lines and other parking issues in residential areas was to have residential parking zones, which again came with civil parking enforcement and there were fors and against that idea.
He queried whether any police forces employed traffic wardens these days.
Councillors voted to support Cllr French’s motion that the council reinvestigated the possibility of part-funding a traffic warden.