Putting an end to dangerous parking will be at the top of the list of priorities when Wokingham Borough Council takes over parking enforcement from the police next month.
From October 9, the council will be responsible for civil parking enforcement (CPE) ensuring safe and legal parking takes place throughout the Wokingham Borough.
A survey in 2015 revealed one in four cars was parked illegally in and around Wokingham and Woodley town centres, and central Twyford, during a six day period.
Illegal parking can be dangerous – particularly for emergency vehicles’ access – and overstaying can also result in too many cars driving around unable to find a space.
Leaflets are now being distributed across the borough advising of the change and to remind everyone of the parking regulations that are in place. They are due to be sent to schools and borough libraries, and will be available in reception at the council’s Shute End offices.
In addition, people will be able to read the leaflet on the council’s website, download it and print it out. In the week before CPE starts, some illegally parked vehicles will have the leaflet and a warning placed on their windscreens.
“Our utmost priority when taking over parking enforcement is to ensure drivers, pedestrians and cyclists can access our borough safely,” said Cllr Chris Bowring, executive member for highways and transport.
“Illegal and inconsiderate parking can cause hazards for emergency services, other road users and pedestrians.
“Parking enforcement is also there to ensure traffic flows more easily and people can find suitable spaces near to shopping areas, which is good for our economy.
“Contrary to what many people think, parking enforcement is not a revenue raiser for the council. All monies that are raised are ring-fenced and will be directly ploughed back into funding the service and investing in parking and transport measures.”
Parking enforcement is being transferred from Thames Valley Police. Instead of traffic wardens or police officers it will be council parking officers enforcing yellow lines, loading restrictions and time-limited/ residents/ disabled bays.
Many local people and businesses already think Wokingham Borough Council has CPE powers and support the move. The police also support the change, and will retain some powers to allow them to deal with certain restrictions.
Council parking officers will have a clearly marked uniform and will also be wearing body cameras for their own and also road users’ safety.
Signs have been erected at key points across the borough to remind people CPE is about to start.
And for the first time every Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) across the borough has been converted from written documents to visual maps making them easier to read. These will be on the council’s corporate website for people to look at when CPE starts.
“Ultimately we would prefer all drivers to abide by the regulations and not receive any fines as that would mean a safer and more accessible borough for us all,” Cllr Bowring added.