Fined: 4 days, 400 tickets – parking wardens return to Weston-super-Mare’s streets
- Credit: Archant
Parking wardens are patrolling the streets of Weston-super-Mare for the first time in 20 years – and in the first four days of their return, dished out close to 400 tickets, clocking up close to £28,000 in fines.
On Monday, North Somerset Council’s civil parking enforcement (CPE) scheme came into place. It means people parked wrongly on double and single-yellow lines, in disabled bays, bus stops and taxi ranks, and on zigzag lines can now be fined by council wardens.
Parking enforcement was previously a criminal matter but with Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s resources stretched to the limit and police needing to turn their attention elsewhere, there have been no active patrols of the district’s streets for 20 years.
But the council has now taken over and in the first four days of its crackdown it fined 398 people £70 each for breaking the rules.
The authority has 11 wardens who will now enforce on-street parking as well as monitor the district’s 66 car parks every day.
Much of their focus will be on Weston, Clevedon and Portishead, as they are the towns with the most parking restrictions, but any complaints to the council about certain areas will be fed back to the team.
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The Mercury’s content editor Briana Millett went out with the team for an hour on Tuesday, and saw three fines handed out in a 100-metre stretch of Oxford Street in Weston.
The council’s parking services and civil enforcement manager Allan Taylor said: “There is an NCP car park metres away – it costs £3 to park in there, but it costs £70 to park on double-yellow lines.
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“The feedback so far has been good, we are already seeing fewer cars in loading bays and have had lorry drivers sticking their hand out of the window to say thank you, because they can park where they need to now.”
The cost of the scheme – £492,140 a year – will be covered by the fines, with any additional cash raised ring-fenced to spend on improvements to roads and transport.
Mr Taylor said: “It could go back to re-surfacing roads or car parks, or even a new bus route.”
The council’s executive member for highways and transport councillor Elfan Ap Rees told the Mercury: “We had quite a lot of blatant cases where people were parking badly – but hopefully that is going to stop now.
“People are realising that they simply can’t do it and we are already seeing people beginning to take notice, and sue the car parks rather than parking on double-yellow lines.”