Shake-up in Norfolk’s parking enforcement

Responsibility for on-street parking enforcement in Norfolk will pass from the police to councils from next week, but just 13 dedicated officers will initially be expected to cover the majority of the county.

At the moment it is up to Norfolk police's traffic wardens to catch people who infringe parking regulations, but from next Monday the job will fall to local councils, so police can be freed up to focus on other priorities.

Norfolk County Council, as highways authority, has delegated parking enforcement to the county's district and borough councils through the Norfolk Parking Partnership.

Norwich City Council already has its own team of 29 parking attendants, but the service for the rest of the county will launch with just 13 civil enforcement officers.

But council bosses said the number will increase over spring and summer, so 24 are on patrol in July and August when the holiday areas are under most pressure.

And they say that the borough and district councils' car park enforcement staff will also be able to carry out on-street enforcement.

The enforcement officers and staff have the power to issue on-street penalty charge notices at two levels, �70 for more serious infringements (�35 if paid within 14 days) or �50 for lesser contraventions (�25 if paid within 14 days). Council bosses said the penalty charge income will go towards the cost of the parking enforcement service, but said it is unlikely to cover the whole cost of the service, and will probably require support from on-street parking income from Great Yarmouth.

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Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation, and chairman of the Norfolk Parking Partnership Joint Committee, said: 'Enforcement of parking controls, such as yellow lines or time-limited spaces, may not be glamorous, but it is very necessary.

'Illegal and inconsiderate parking affects us all. It undermines safety, causes congestion and blocks access for buses, deliveries and emergency vehicles. Many businesses, especially shops, rely upon customers being able to park easily using time-limited spaces.'

Not all district councils are employing enforcement staff. Civil enforcement officers will be employed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and South Norfolk Council, patrolling their own districts, and by West Norfolk Council, covering the remainder of the county (Broadland, Breckland and North Norfolk, as well as West Norfolk).

The processing of penalty charges and appeals will be carried out by Great Yarmouth Borough Council (for Great Yarmouth and South Norfolk) and by West Norfolk Council (for the rest of the county except Norwich).

Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk's cabinet member for shared services, said: 'We know how much of an issue parking can be, especially in King's Lynn and in our coastal areas in the summer. I am very pleased that we have been given delegated powers to carry out on-street enforcement.

'I am optimistic the new service will be able to respond to local needs and hotspots. I would certainly advise drivers to think carefully before taking a chance when they park in some of our streets in the borough.'

While the enforcement of yellow lines, time-limited waiting and other parking restrictions becomes entirely the responsibility of councils and their civil enforcement officers, the police will still have the power to act where vehicles obstruct the roads, such as parking on zig-zags at pedestrian crossings.

The county council has had to make a string of traffic orders across the county so they can use their new powers.

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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