Wokingham Borough Council’s plans are on track to take on civil parking enforcement (CPE) across the borough, from May 2017.
The council is currently working on its application to the Department for Transport (DfT) to do this, and hopes to submit it this summer. Emergency services, parish councils, neighbouring councils and other statutory bodies will be consulted, as part of it.
CPE means the borough council would take over the police’s role to legally enforce parking breaches such as on double yellow lines, double parking or parking across dropped kerbs, parking in a residents’ parking zone without a permit and overstaying time-limited bays. The police will retain some parking enforcement powers, for example when dealing with obstructions generally.
The council would also be able to tackle cars obstructing verges and pavements where they are parked next to yellow lines - making things safer for pedestrians and road users.
The new powers would harmonise enforcement at both on and off-street parking locations, and allow the council to better manage parking schemes for residents and businesses.
The project also involves refreshing - and in some places correcting - parking restriction signs and lines. In Twyford, this work is planned to start in April. Residents will be kept up-to-date via street information signs, or in the post. Car owners in some locations might have to move their vehicles while markings are refreshed.
Thames Valley Police currently has CPE responsibility in the Wokingham Borough, but supports the council’s bid to take over this role and bring the borough in line with other Thames Valley councils.
"Local people and businesses also want us to take this on, and many already think we do," said Cllr Keith Baker, leader of Wokingham Borough Council.
"Please be patient with us. There’ll be some parking regulations that are no longer relevant because traffic movements and geography around them have changed. We won’t know until CPE beds in. So we will review those then.
"Clearly with 1,700 roads in the borough we will prioritise certain areas such as outside schools."
The DfT application process can take 18 months and involves an Act of Parliament. The council will hear next March if its application has been successful.
Traffic Regulations Orders (TROs) for all parking regulations in the borough are being converted from a criminal to a civil offence, and for the first time these will all be available as easy to read maps on the council’s website.
The appeals process for parking is also being simplified and made more transparent, with independent adjudication.