Civil parking enforcement power for Wokingham Borough Council could be a step closer next week (24 September), if the council’s decision-making executive decides to start the application process.
Members are being recommended to approve the preparation and submission of an application to the Department for Transport (DfT) to introduce civil parking enforcement powers for the council across the borough.
It would give the council the authority to manage on-street parking enforcement across the borough, taking the responsibility from Thames Valley Police which welcomes Wokingham Borough Council taking on the role.
With only two annual windows for DfT applications, if members agree the recommendation, it will take between 18 months and two years for the council scheme to actually start on the ground.
In addition to a public consultation, the borough council will also have to consult with the police, neighbouring local authorities, Highways Agency, the DVLA, Government Office and Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
Once the Secretary of State accepts an application and it is laid before parliament, enforcement powers then become a statutory duty for the council.
“These powers won’t affect the majority of motorists who park sensibly and safely. It will target those who choose to ignore the rules and park where they want stopping people getting into their own homes or businesses,” said Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways.
“One in four vehicles park illegally in and around the borough’s town centres, according to a survey we carried out earlier this year. And our residents tell us they want us to have these powers to stop this.
“We’ve held off for a few years because contrary to popular belief, not all councils make vast sums from parking tickets, and obviously we don’t want to saddle our borough’s public purse with this burden.
“This means we’re considering several options on how to run the service to ensure it is cost neutral. We’re also looking at how the other Berkshire local authorities are running theirs’. It is important we get this right for our residents.
“The benefits are great. Having the ability to manage parking borough wide means we can keep traffic moving in problem places, improve road safety, help the environment, boost public transport and sustainable travel choices and free up kerb space currently being abused.”