A deal has been mutually agreed between Telford & Wrekin Council Leader Councillor Shaun Davies and the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion which could enable responsibility for parking enforcement to switch to the local authority
The Police and Crime Commissioner raised the possibility of the Council taking on responsibility for parking enforcement in 2017.
Councillor Davies was clear that the adoption of civil parking enforcement would be dependent on transitional funding being provided to ease the burden on Telford and Wrekin taxpayers. Following negotiations a figure of up to £200,000 of funding over four years was agreed by the PCC.
This proposed change would be subject to extensive stakeholder and public consultation. If it becomes formally adopted, responsibility would transfer away from the police, who would have more time to focus on other priorities.
A business case would also have to be submitted to the Department for Transport and as a result any transfer of power to the council to oversee civil parking enforcement may not happen until the summer of 2019 at the earliest.
Consultees would include the council’s Finance and Enterprise Scrutiny Committee, chaired by Councillor Nathan England. The scrutiny committee would be asked to support the business case.
Telford & Wrekin Council leader Councillor Shaun Davies said: “We have carried out constructive dialogue with Mr Campion on this and I am delighted that we are now at a point that sufficient funding is available for the council to consider taking on this important responsibility.
“At a time of great demand on both police and council resources, such an adoption of power needs to work for both partners.
“This by no means makes it a done deal as it would be subject to full public consultation, examination by scrutiny and also review and adoption by the Department for Transport and none of that would be a quick process.
“However, arriving at this stage demonstrates a spirit of excellent partnership working between ourselves and the police and shows that we have been able to negotiate an arrangement that could be viable for both parties.
“The level of funding being talked about would mean that the council would not be dependent on serving a set amount of fixed penalty notices to cover the costs of implementing and running the scheme.
“There would be no change to the policy of free car parking in the borough. As a result, any surplus could be invested in ensuring car parks remain free.
“Any further surplus would also be reinvested into Safer Routes for School schemes across the borough, improving parking in borough estates and investing in sustainable transport.
“The plan now is to go out to public consultation this autumn to get the views of residents, businesses and parishes on any proposed changes.”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “Almost everywhere in the country, we have seen parking enforcement move away from the police and responsibility for it transferred to councils.
“The change would deliver better services to local communities and would free up considerable police resource. As such, I have worked hard with the Council to progress the change for Telford and Wrekin and am pleased to have agreed a way forward.
“I know that parking is an important issue for all our communities. Civil enforcement would mean for the first time a whole team solely dedicated to that issue would be in operation across Telford and Wrekin.
“It will help prevent problems and make sure they are resolved quicker where they do occur, to the benefit of local residents and businesses..
“Civil enforcement would also enable police officers to get on with investigating crimes as well as focusing on all the other vital work they do to keep us safe.
“I will continue to work with the Council to deliver this change and the benefits it will bring as quickly as possible.”