A stand-off has emerged between two Norfolk councils over the cost of parking enforcement.

Liberal Democrat-run North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is refusing to pay the Conservative-dominated Norfolk County Council (NCC) a sum of £5,500, to cover the cost of enforcement between 2021 and 2022. 

NNDC is withholding the sum because it is unhappy with the current arrangements around parking enforcement, saying that it amounts to “taxation without representation”. 

The issue initially came up at a December meeting of the Norfolk Parking Partnership’s joint committee - a body comprising representatives from each of Norfolk’s district councils, chaired by NCC. 

The committee was discussing how to balance the books with the cost of parking officers.

Currently, each of the district authorities pays an annual contribution towards the cost, but NNDC is refusing to pay its sum, leading some on the committee to suggest that on-street charges be introduced in North Norfolk to make up the cost.

But NNDC’s leader, Tim Adams, said his council was withholding the sum because it does not have voting rights on the committee.

The only authorities to have voting rights are those that provide officers to carry out the actual enforcement.  

Norwich, Great Yarmouth and South Norfolk each carry out their own enforcement, as does West Norfolk. 

But West Norfolk Borough Council also provides enforcement in Breckland, Broadland and North Norfolk.

NNDC's leader, Tim Adams, said: “I would be happy to authorise it, if they enabled us to have a vote on the parking partnership…

Eastern Daily Press: Tim Adams, Liberal Democrat leader of North Norfolk District CouncilTim Adams, Liberal Democrat leader of North Norfolk District Council (Image: Paul Heinrich)

“We want a bit of steer, operationally. If we’re going to pay £5,500… the principle is that we need to have a bit of say on what’s going on with parking.”

But Mr Adams said he would also not be happy to see NCC forcibly introducing on-street parking charges, saying that in the Cromer area he represents, the current model allowed for a high turnover of customers in local businesses.

A county council spokesman responded: “As originally agreed between the partners, only those local authorities which carry out civil parking enforcement have voting rights on the Norfolk Parking Partnership and there is currently no appetite to change that agreement.”

Though Norwich does not yet have voting rights on the committee, following a 2020 change in highways responsibilities, the county council said the intention was for the city authority to “become a full voting member, and the joint committee and officers are working towards that happening.”